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Petition against Watton Town Council’s decision to not provide a cemetery gains more than 1,200 signatures

PUBLISHED: 12:45 12 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:44 16 February 2018

Norman Phillips and Bryan Wykes with the petition against Watton Town Council's decision to seek to no longer be a burial authority when the current cemetery is full. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Norman Phillips and Bryan Wykes with the petition against Watton Town Council's decision to seek to no longer be a burial authority when the current cemetery is full. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Archant

More than 1,000 signatures have been collected on a petition against a town authority’s decision to no longer provide a cemetery when the current one is full.

St Mary's Church at Watton. Picture: Ian BurtSt Mary's Church at Watton. Picture: Ian Burt

Started by Norman Phillips and Bryan Wykes, more than 1,200 Watton residents signed the petition in less than a week.

In a review commissioned by Watton Town Council last year, it stated the area around the town and surrounding districts had “very restrictive development opportunities” and sites suitable for cemeteries were “extremely restricted” due to ground water levels.

In October councillors voted after “much discussion” to not reserve money for future cemetery land and to seek to no longer be a burial authority when the cemetery off Church Road is full.

Watton mayor Stan Hebborn. Picture: Steve AdamsWatton mayor Stan Hebborn. Picture: Steve Adams

MORE - Future of burials in Watton under threat much to the dismay of some residents

Former councillor Mr Phillips, who wants to be buried in the town with his wife, said he was disgusted by the decision.

To gauge the reaction of the public he and former mayor Mr Wykes started the petition.

The 77-year-old said: “We were amazed at the hostility of people towards Watton Town Council regarding this matter.

“We had people who are 92 and 93-years-old absolutely up in arms about it. I think this shows there is sufficient public outcry regarding this matter”

The pair presented their petition at a full council meeting on Tuesday at Wayland Hall.

The town council said money had been allocated for a new cemetery but it is not enough to purchase land outside of the parish and establish a cemetery.

It is believed the current cemetery will be full in between seven to 10 years time.

Mayor of Watton Stan Hebborn said: “A petition from the residents of Watton clearly represents strong public view.

“If there is any other options the council can look into then we would want to explore them.

“We are happy to listen to what anyone has to say on the matter and we are elected by the community to represent their interests.

“We note their concerns and we appreciate it is an emotive subject.”

Mr Wykes added: “Some people want their family to be buried in one place and they will be denied that. People need a place to grieve and identify with a loved one and they will be deprived of it.”

What are your thoughts on the matter? Email rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk

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