Row erupts over flag at East Hampshire cemetery

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PLANS to have a flag flying at a cemetery have been deferred over concerns about it ruining a tranquil space.

East Hampshire District Council applied to have a 13ft pole erected at Catherington Cemetery.

It came after the council won a prestigious Green Flag award to recognise the high environmental standards at the cemetery.

But there were strong objections from residents in Catherington and local councillor Sara Schillemore at a planning meeting.

Frank Rowney, making a deputation, said the main problem would be the noise from the flag and it would affect people who were laying loved ones to rest.

Cllr Schillemore said the flag would become prominent in the winter when trees shed their leaves.

She said it would not enhance the nearby All Saints Church – a 12th century listed building – and that it was an inappropriate use of consecrated land.

There were also concerns as the flag would be directly opposite the boundary of the South Downs National Park.

Minutes of the council meeting said: ‘A 4m post with halyards flapping and flag flying would ruin this rather special feeling of peaceful solitude of the burial area.’

Cllr Schillemore said a plaque would be a better alternative.

People said the Green Flag award should be used to honour Frederick Day, who helped create the graveyard.

Councillors voted to defer a decision until after the site has been visited and assessed.