THE only pedestrian gate at Bury St Edmunds’ cemetery to still require manual locking could soon become mechanised, courtesy of funds from the town council.
In a move expected to save St Edmundsbury Borough Council about £4,500 a year, the cemetery’s King’s Road and West Road gates became automated earlier this month.
But, due to budget constraints, the Hospital Road gate was not automated and has been manually locked at 4pm Monday-Thursday and from 12.30pm on Friday until 8am the following Monday, inconveniencing people wanting to visit the cemetery on evenings and weekends.
On Wednesday, Bury Town Council’s finance policy and resources committee agreed, in principal, to fund the cost of automating the third gate, subject to approval by full council.
“I consider this a service to St Edmundsbury and this town council should support the mechanisation,” said Cllr Bob Cockle, adding that Hospital Road was the safest place for visitors to park.
Cllr David Nettleton agreed, saying Hospital Road was a wide road, ideal for parking, where as West Road was too busy and King’s Road had previous issues with parking.
Seventy-six-year-old Ernie Broom told the council how last Sunday, when he went to visit his wife Deirdre’s grave, he could not park anywhere near the cemetery and was forced to park near the water tower.
“It’s not just a matter of access, it’s a matter of respect,” said Cllr Paul Simner.
Speaking from the public gallery, Cllr Alan Turner said: “I’m annoyed that it seems to have come down to the town council again to pick up a tab for the borough council. I feel the bill should go to the borough.
“I think the reality is we either put it down or allow people like Mr Broom to continue to suffer,” said Cllr Nettleton.