A parish councillor has quit due to the “unacceptable condition” of Corbridge Cemetery.

Mark Griffin said he had also resigned his position on the Corbridge Parish Council due to the “oversight of the affairs” of the cemetery by the council.

At last month’s meeting of the parish council, during ‘Urgent Business’, Mr Griffin told members he had received a letter personally addressed to him from two residents.

He said the residents had written to him to say that the condition and presentation of the village’s cemetery were “unacceptable”.

During the meeting, Mr Griffin said he would carry out an inspection of the cemetery and generate a report on his findings.

It was noted that the gates and railings, buildings and paths and roads are not included in the groundworks contract with Northumberland County Council and remain the responsibility of the Parish Council, and that progress to improve its condition was already being made.

A resident present at the meeting said he has five generations of his family buried in the cemetery and visits regularly, and disagreed with Mr Griffin’s statement.

Mr Griffin said he would provide the report as an agenda item at the next council meeting on Wednesday (May 19).

But last Friday (March 14), Mr Griffin said he was told agenda items for the upcoming meeting were not being accepted.

“I’ve been a councillor for almost four years and I have never seen this before,” Mr Griffin said.

“It seemed to be very strange that this occurred at this particular time when I was going to table my report.”

Mr Griffin sent his report to all of the Corbridge Parish Councillors via email that day.

Mr Griffin claims Corbridge Cemetery is under a Service Level Contractual Agreement between Corbridge Parish Council with Northumberland County Council, which states the County Council’s obligation under the agreement with Corbridge Parish Council, is to ensure the cemetery is, ‘maintained in a pristine condition all year round’, and, that the Corbridge Parish Council is responsible for the ‘oversight of the affairs of the cemetery’.

Mr Griffin said he “completely agrees” with the residents that the condition of the cemetery is in an “unacceptable condition”.

“If that [the cemetery] is in pristine condition we have some serious definitional problems,” Mr Griffin said.

He said he no longer wishes to be associated with the Parish Council.

Chairman of Corbridge Parish Council, William Clouston, said that as Wednesday’s meeting of the council would the first in-person meeting since before the pandemic, it was “meant to be a shorter meeting”. He also said the condition of the cemetery was being “dealt with”.

He said a meeting had taken place and that a number of improvements would be made in the next 12 months.