Council agrees u-turn on churchyard grass cutting
- Credit: Peter Steward
A Norfolk village has reversed its decision to stop paying for the grass cutting of its churchyard.
Hethersett Parish Council previously voted to save more than £3,000 a year by withdrawing funding, but has now changed its mind after representations at its January meeting from Christian groups and the public.
After a lengthy discussion via social media, councillors voted by nine votes to four to continue with the payments, but to re-assess the position annually as part of its budget-setting programme.
In a statement, Hethersett and District Churches Together urged councillors to reconsider the matter:
It said: “We were saddened to learn of the council ceasing to fund the community resource of the only burial space in Hethersett. The burial ground of St Remigius is a place where anyone, regardless of creed or faith or of no faith at all, can be buried.
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"We would urge the council in the strongest terms to reconsider this decision for the sake of the vast majority of people in this village who either have family members interred there or who choose to do so in the future."
Council member Bridget Williamson felt that it would be wrong to take the emotion out of any decision.
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She said: “This is about bereavement and people being allowed to grieve in their own way whether they have faith or not. You cannot take emotion out of this. This is something for the whole community and we have a moral responsibility for it."
Fellow councillor Chris Morriss added: “As councillors we are representing the residents of Hethersett. I haven’t come across one person from the public who agrees that we should withdraw paying for the service. To do so would seem to be mean and unnecessary."
The council has footed the bill for grass cutting in the churchyard for more than 40 years. Councillors agreed it would be “morally correct” to continue to support this financially.
They therefore decided to reverse their earlier decision to withdraw funding after agreeing there were no legal reasons to prevent them financially supporting grass cutting.