Reader letter: Chapel meeting left us feeling cheated

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We (my wife and I) attended a Kimberley Town Council public meeting on Thursday January 29 in The Parish Hall, beginning at 7.30pm, along with quite a number of other local residents.

We were all keen to ask questions and make our views known before it’s too late regarding the council and the cemetery chapel.

This building has stood for over 100 years and is a fine example of Victorian architecture and a landmark synonymous with Kimberley.

The town council, led by David Nunn and Jim Mcdonald, are set on creating a ‘social hub’ which not only involves social issues (noise, litter, etc) but would mean extensive costly building works to provide such facilities as WCs and a kitchen. A petition was presented to the council at the meeting by Green Party member Kat Boettge. This was signed by many people who are NOT in favour of the ‘Social Hub’. When she spoke she was shouted down most rudely by members in favour of the grand renovation scheme. The meeting went on for over two-and-a-half hours. We, the public could hear virtually nothing and asked the members to speak up on several occasions – it was akin to a private meeting not a public one. The chairman responded by saying” You can move closer if you like.” Several people took him up on the offer including myself though this was not entirely in keeping with protocol and appeared almost laughable. It was now fast approaching 10pm. We had had a presentation regarding a football issue and other items including a long spell talking about dogs chewing swings on a park and had still not arrived at the place where the chapel could be discussed – the reason why most people had turned out on the cold winter’s night. The chairman then informed us that the meeting was running out of time but he was prepared to add on an extra five minutes for any questions from the public. We were then allowed to make our views known in the little time that was left. Several people asked why had the meeting gone on so long – was it a ploy to run out of time? Several people who had been keen to speak on the chapel issue had gone home.

We felt cheated. Kat has asked English Heritage to get involved – if they agree to listing the building it would solve many problems. Do the people of Kimberley want a social hub in their graveyard, is it really in keeping? The money could be put to much better use, starting with the pot holes.

Kevin & Elaine Tanner

Kimberley