Devon

Row over new £2,000 chain for Ottery St Mary mayor

  • 21 August 2013
  • From the section Devon
Ottery St Mary chain of office
Image caption The Ottery St Mary's chain of office is worn by the town's mayor several times a month

A decision to spend £2,000 on a new chain for a Devon town's mayor has met some opposition.

Ottery St Mary Town Council voted eight to five in favour of replacing the existing 60-year-old regalia.

One councillor who voted against it said it was a "waste of public money".

Roger Giles said it was wrong to buy a new mayoral chain at a time when council services were being curtailed and the town's food bank was busier than it had ever been.

"The money's raised by council tax payers - and the council tax payer and people generally are having a really hard time just now struggling to pay their bills," he told BBC News.

Out-of-date wording

Mr Giles said when the matter was first discussed about two years ago it had been "highly contentious", with many local people saying they did not want their council tax money spent that way.

He said it was wrong to go ahead now and make a decision without the public being given a chance to have their say.

Councillor Ian Holmes, who voted in favour, said the wording on the exiting chain was out of date as it referred to the town's "chairman", rather than "mayor" and also the Ottery St Mary Urban District Council, which was dissolved many years ago.

"The chain is worn several times a month and people take a great deal of interest in it... and sometimes it's a little bit embarrassing for our mayor." he added.

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