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Call to keep path open is backed

PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 11:58 03 July 2010

ALMOST 100 people have signed a petition calling for a u-turn on a decision to close a cemetery footpath overnight.

Residents living near St Nicholas Churchyard have signed a petition organised by Labour leader Mick Castle concerning the overnight closure of a footpath leading from Sainsbury's.

ALMOST 100 people have signed a petition calling for a u-turn on a decision to close a cemetery footpath overnight.

Residents living near St Nicholas Churchyard have signed a petition organised by Labour leader Mick Castle concerning the overnight closure of a footpath leading from Sainsbury's.

As reported in the Mercury on September 26, Mr Castle has been fighting to overturn the decision - claiming several residents who use the footpath as a short cut will be inconvenienced when the gates are locked at 4.30pm as the clocks go back later this month.

Mr Castle had originally asked for the matter to be discussed at the Yarmouth area liaison meeting in December, but the Central and Northgate ward councillor has requested the issue is put on the agenda of the borough council's next cabinet meeting on October 25.

He again criticised the council for not consulting local residents over the closures - instated following three assaults an vandalism to memorials and graves in the churchyard.

Gates are currently closed at 7.30pm and re-opened at 7.30am.

Mr Castle said the decision was “ill thought” and said the idea of keeping undesirables out of the churchyard overnight was misplaced because the main gates to the churchyard remain open overnight.

He said: “The path is not just common or garden path through a cemetery, it is a long standing public right of way used by local people going about their business. It has street lamps precisely because it is a path used both day and night.”

A recent meeting between the borough council's bereavement services and police revealed no further assaults had been reported since the closure and vandalism had also been reduced.

Mr Castle said he organised the petition to show the strength of feeling of local people and hoped the decision would be revoked or that residents were at least formally consulted on the issue.

“If the council does not accept the petition and wants to do its own consultation I would be pleased with that,” he added.

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