Kimberley council to face 500 names in Cemetery Chapel petition

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The councillor at Kimberley Town Council is to present the online petition at a full council meeting on Thursday, January 29, with 452 names asking to either scrap the current proposal or to “not act upon it now”.

Ms Boettge, who resigned from her post last year but was then co-opted back into the council, added: “Additionally we have collected written concerns from residents against the proposal which amount to 52 further supporters.

“Nobody took the opportunity to comment positively on the proposal on the comment slip. This shows clearly that the community is not in favour of the plans.”

An application to list the chapel with English heritage is pending, added Ms Boettge.

“I believe it is essential that we at least await the decision if the chapel will be listed before we alter anything.

“There has been no public consultation for this proposal, and spending this amount of public money without a business plan is ridiculous.”

Council chairman Dr David Nunn said: “I will not be commenting on a petition that has not been handed in until we have scrutinised it to see how many of the signatories are genuine and local.

He added: “The previous administration wanted to spend £35,000 on the chapel. They were prepared to increase the Precept to pay for it too. What hypocrisy!”

Shane Easom, former chairman of the council, said his willingness to spend on the chapel in 2010 was led by public support for restoration.

He added: “What they want to do would be like vandalism.”

In 2010 his council’s budget was focused on repair, with the majority of cash going on refitting the bell turret.

“Now they want to detract from the building even though their report showed that only four per cent of people want to use it as a social hub.”

Roy Plumb of Kimberley Resident’s Association said: “The ambiance and the location of the building deserves respect. I am appalled that Cllr Jim McDonald promised the people of Kimberley that they would restore the chapel to its former glory. These plans propose renovation rather than restoration.”

Kimberley Town Council passed a proposal on December 18, 2014 to renovate the chapel, “compromising” it’s internal, original features.

The chapel was built in 1883 and has been closed for the past two and a half years awaiting repairs.

KTC’s steering group’s proposal to renovate the chapel to make it a multi-use building will cost an estimated £40,000.

Ms Boettge says that plans to restore the chapel, keep original features and make necessary repairs to allow weddings, funerals, civil ceremonies and namings, would cost around £8,000.

A council report found 79 per cent of people want to use it in this way.

She claims to have the support from over 500 people.

The council spent a total of £158,000 last year and has reserves of just over £110,000. It proposes to spend on the project out of reserves.