Council calling for cemetery ‘friends’

A PUBLIC meeting is going to be held on the state of Whitby Cemetery after recent complaints by devastated families and local town councillors.

Whitby Town Council agreed unanimously to call the meeting which will invite members of the public to come along with a view to forming a Friends of Whitby Cemetery group.

It is envisaged the group members, which may be made up of councillors, will liaise with the town council when there are issues in the cemetery that need addressing and in turn WTC will feed the information to Scarborough Borough Council which is currently responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the cemetery on Larpool Lane.

If the scheme worked well the town council would look to taking over the running of the cemetery in the future under a community asset transfer.

Coun Simon Parkes also criticised the town’s borough councillors for their apparent lack of interest in the saga.

He said: “None of them have contacted me, none of them has taken an interest in the cemetery which is after all run by the borough council.

“I don’t understand that, I have had my ear bent about it and so has Coun Sean Rixham-Smith which is good and proper.

“We have got our heads together and we are looking to form a friends group, I know the issue has been raised but I don’t see any extra cost to the tax payer.”

Earlier in the meeting, former town mayor Ada Myers said the complaints went back years and when she was town mayor she had spoken to the grass cutters.

She added: “Unfortunately they can only use the machinery that is supplied and it does not collect the grass up and it gets scattered all over the gravestones.

“I read in the Gazette about getting a party of people as Friends of the Cemetery and think it is a brilliant idea and wish them all the luck in the world.”

Coun Parkes added: “I am asking the council to give authority to set up a public meeting, whether all these people who have loved ones can come along and we can have a form that goes out so people can sign up to show their interest in joining a friends group.

“It seems perfectly appropriate that Whitby folk, through its town council, have a say in caring for our local cemetery which in my opinion is uncared for and unloved by SBC.”