Councillor wonders if Wisbech chapel could be sold and money used to improve cemetery

A QUESTION mark has been raised over the future of the chapel at Mount Pleasant cemetery, Wisbech, after a councillor suggested it could be sold off.

Councillor Virginia Bucknor quoted figures to councillors which indicate decreasing interest in the chapel which she says has only been used once in the past year.

Cllr Bucknor, elected earlier this year as an independent member of Fenland District Council, believes the money saved could be used to improve the cemetery itself.

She said it was an “easy option” for the council to slash expenditure but it meant, for example, that in Mount Pleasant there were no suitable benches for people to sit on. Those that are there are beyond repair.

She said parks and open spaces manager Bob Ollier and his team and worked wonders with what money was available and “the condition of the cemetery bears no reflection on any officer”,

However Cllr Bucknor believes more could be done to improve the cemetery so that visiting families and friends could pay proper respect to their loved ones.

She believes money from the possible sale of the under used chapel could be ring fenced and used for cemetery improvements.

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She felt Wisbech people could be asked for their views on the issue and wondered if section 106 (planning gain) cash could be used to improve the 19th century cemetery.

A call for a wider debate on cemeteries was welcomed by Council Leader Alan Melton who thought it should be discussed as part of the ongoing debate on the district’s core strategy.

He admitted he knew little about the chapel but he agreed that cemeteries would continue to be important for those who did not want to be cremated.

“We’ll take this issue forward” he promised and said it would be considered by the overview and scrutiny committee.

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