Council blasted for employing consultancy firm

NEAA 11-06-12 BE 12 Cllrs Jim McDonald and David Lunn at Kimberley cemetery chapel.
NEAA 11-06-12 BE 12 Cllrs Jim McDonald and David Lunn at Kimberley cemetery chapel.

Kimberley Town Council has been heavily criticised for spending £11,000 employing a consultancy firm to look at options available for the cemetery chapel the authority owns.

Residents have raised concerns about the move, claiming ‘sufficient’ research has already been done on the historic building in the cemetery, off Broomhill Road, by the town council in the past.

Resident Susan McEntee, who regularily attends town council meetings, claimed research on how to renovate the chapel was carried out in the past and she feels spending the £11,000 is therefore not a good use of taxpapers’ money.

A spokesman for the town council has said the new research is needed. The firm it is using, Faithful and Gould, has a wide ranging brief, including looking at what grants are currently available to possibily spend on the chapel.

Ms McEntee said: “The previous council and the imaginative folk in Kimberley had already come up with a perfectly sensible and officially approved scheme.

“I believe they are wasting taxpayers’ money on something that has already been done.”

Another resident Gordon Barksby claimed the move ‘was diabolical’.

The old research had suggested the chapel be used for civil weddings and community groups. And the council had then even arranged volunteers to carry out the work free of charge.

“They weren’t planning on doing anything with it that the public disagreed with,” Ms McEntee added.

“I think this new council came in and didn’t agree with the plan,” she claimed.

Ms McEntee feels the £11,000 might have been better spent on renovating Broomhill Lodge, which the council also owns,and is aming to sell because of the high costs of maintaining it.

The council said: “Faithful and Gould are providing a wide range of services including consultation, research and evaluation, economic development, design, and cost management.

“The work will also include a review of eligible grant funding programmes available to the town council.

The outcome of the study will allow the town council, on behalf of the community, to make a strategic decision on the future of the chapel.”

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