Councillor Peter Kendall submitted a Councillor Call for Action (CCfA) on 28th June 2019.
The Councillor Call for Action was in relation to health and safety concerns with lack of access to current plots at Flimby Cemetery and the condition of the Boundary Wall.
Councillor Kendall was in attendance to make his representations. He advised he was representing the residents of Flimby who have sent him numerous complaints in relation to this issue. Councillor Kendall also states that over 200 letters from residents, expressing concerns at the poor public access to the Cemetery have been submitted.
Councillor Kendall explained that the Cemetery needs a new footpath given a lack of suitable access to the new graves in the Cemetery; the current access is on challenging terrain which gets worse in poor weather conditions, making it difficult for both the public and Funeral Directors. The boundary wall also requires attention as it is a state of disrepair.
Councillor Kendall requested that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee attend Flimby Cemetery for a site visit before making a decision on the CCfA, and that all letters received from residents should be acknowledged.
Before answering questions from the Committee, the chair advised that they were only considering items included in the CCfA, not the rest of the Cemetery.
Members then asked questions to Councillor Kendall in relation to his CCfA and in particular to the carrying of coffins within the graveyard. The Bereavement Services Manager clarified that the carrying of coffins is permitted but Allerdale is looking into whether to prohibit this due to Health and Safety concerns.
Councillor Heaslip asked what steps had been taken to resolve this issue before presenting the CCfA. Councillor Kendall explained that this issue was brought before Maryport Town Council and had been raised with the Head of Community Services. He confirmed that discussions had not been held with the relevant executive portfolio holder or raised the issue at Executive or Council.
The Chair then asked members of the public to make representations.
Councillor Keith Little (Cumbria CC) and Carol Tindall reiterated the concerns shared by Councillor Kendall but also expressed that the state of the Cemetery is a Health and Safety concern that Allerdale should be addressing as a matter of community safety.
In response to the representations and questions from members, the Bereavement Services Manager advised that she had not received any complaints from Funeral Directors and that they have never had issues accessing grave plots. In relation to the boundary wall, she advised that a fence could be erected rather than repairing the wall.
In final questions to Councillor Kendall, Councillor Cockburn asked why he had not discussed this issue with the relevant portfolio holder. Councillor Kendall advised he was following the protocol established as per the previous CCfA, made a number of years ago.
The Chair then advised the committee of the options available.
Councillor Heaslip shared his view that this was a valid CCfA and moved the motion that an investigation should be conducted in consultation with executive members.
Councillor Grainger seconded the motion with Councillor Holliday sharing support for an investigation.
A vote was held on the motion, 10 voted in favour, 0 against and 0 abstentions.
The motion was carried
That the CCfA is valid and that an investigation is to be conducted with the relevant officers and executive members.