Town council up against a brick wall over churchyard

Reepham Town Council has turned down a request from Reepham’s Parochial Church Council (PCC) to continue maintaining the churchyard and churchyard wall after the current arrangement ends in 2024.

Photos: Reepham Community Press

Earlier this year, the town council gave notification to the PCC that it could no longer afford to pay for the maintenance of the churchyard, which is believed to have closed for burials around 1897, and the wall, which requires major and expensive repair works.
It was pointed out at the town council meeting on Wednesday 11 October that local taxpayers could be faced with a £70,000 bill to fully repair the church-owned wall, which in recent years has been frequently hit and damaged by HGVs and other large vehicles, particularly on the corner of Church Hill and Ollands Road.
Earlier this year, the town council gave 12 months’ notice to the PCC that it would return the responsibility for maintenance of the churchyard and churchyard wall to the diocese; the PCC then requested the town council to reconsider.
However, Reepham Town Council was unwilling to overturn its decision, saying that despite efforts to discuss options, such as a contribution to the maintenance, the PCC had been “unwilling to engage”.
The town council said it could no longer afford the insurance premiums on the wall, which is Grade I and Grade II listed, and also felt that local taxpayers would not welcome a large increase in the precept (the tax charged on each property in the civil parish, paid through council tax) to fund the necessary repairs.
The town council noted that if the diocese declines to take back responsibility for the churchyard and churchyard wall, their maintenance would then be taken over by Broadland District Council, which could mean the grass being cut twice a year, instead of every two weeks under the existing regime.
The PCC has declined to comment at this stage.
See our earlier story:

Related stories: