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Home   Sheerness   News   Article

Sheerness councillor Steve Worrall accuses Swale council of making a profit out of people's grief over The Leas, Minster, memorial bench charges

30 January 2014
by Andy Gray

Cllr Steve Worrall said fellow members should be “ashamed” people will now have to pay an extra £63 for a fixed tribute to a loved one.

The Labour representative for Sheerness West ward claimed Swale council was attempting to “profit out of somebody’s grief”, adding: “It shows they’ve got no feelings, no compassion and all they want to do is make money – and they’re not even concerned how they do it.”

The price of adding a memorial bench to The Leas, Minster, is set to increase

The price of adding a memorial bench to The Leas, Minster, is set to increase

The increase was included in a fees and charges review which went before members last week and will determine how the council sets its budget in April.

The report’s recommendations were approved and means people will have to pay £505, as opposed to £442, to have a seafront bench installed.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr David Simmons, (Con) cabinet member for environmental and rural affairs, said the additional cost was for “administration” as previously the price only covered the wooden seats’ installation.

He also claimed the higher fee would cover maintenance charges following public complaints about the large number of flowers and other remembrance items left at benches.

Cllr Duncan Dewar-Whalley, Swale’s cabinet member for finance, defended the increase, saying: “In this difficult financial climate we have to make some tough decisions.

“However, we believe we have looked at all the possibilities available to us and taken into consideration the impact any increases we propose may have on our community.”

Although the review included no extra charge in council car park and season ticket prices, the cost of a first burial or interment in the borough will rise by 3%.

It means cemetery fees in Sittingbourne, Faversham and Murston will increase to £1,305.

On Sheppey, the price will climb from £1,146 to £1,180.

The increase will also apply to cremations, scatterings of ashes and use of chapels in Sittingbourne and Faversham.

Residents will also pay more for bulky waste collections, which will rise from £17.60 to £18.17. The cost of wheelie bin replacement go from £413.60 to £427.25 for the largest size – and from £37.50 to £38.75 for a domestic one.

There is better news for brown bin users, with the garden waste service fee decreasing from £40.60 to £35. The council estimates it will generate £20,000 more from its various price hikes.

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