Move to honour former Woodbridge mayor with green memorial

Borders at Elmhurst Park, Woodbridge

Borders at Elmhurst Park, Woodbridge - Credit: Archant

A town council has chosen to break with convention to memorialise a former mayor.

Charles Notcutt

Charles Notcutt - Credit: Archant

Until now, requests for memorial trees to be planted in Woodbridge’s Elmhurst Park had been turned down by the town council.

But members this week voted in favour of making an exception to its own precedent for noted local businessman and horticulturist, Charles Notcutt, who died in July, aged 81.

It followed debate at the town hall over recommendations put forward by the council’s amenities committee for a suitable tree and plaque to be purchased, and for the views of Mr Notcutt’s widow to be sought.

The meeting heard that Mr Notcutt had served on the council when a similar request to memorialise a park benefactor was turned down.

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Councillor Kay Yule suggested that the predetermined felling of the park’s large copper beech would allow for a replacement to be planted – although not in that exact location, where a seating area is planned.

Councillor Patti Mulcahy recommended members vote against using the public purse to fund the project. She said: “Taxpayers’ money has never been spent memorialising a councillor – I don’t think we should start now. Neither do I think we should recognise one councillor over another.”

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Ms Mulcahy said that although she appreciated Mr Notcutt’s work for the town, she had yet to see any public correspondence suggesting the council authorise a tribute.

“The proposal contravenes how the council has worked with requests for memorial trees – I don’t think we should have different rules for the public,” she said, adding that Mr Nottcutt’s own response as councillor to a similar request was to suggest Fen Meadow more appropriate.

Councillor Geoff Holdcroft said: “I understand this may appear to set a precedent, but I would like to see this as a special case. Charles died very shortly after leaving office and, under these circumstances, I think this town council should recognise him with an appropriate memorial.”

Ms Mulcahy suggested that, rather than fund the proposed tree and plaque, the town council facilitate a local charity or organisation donation.

Mayor Josh Sayles proposed that the original recommendation be amended accordingly, but that an exception to the council’s previous stance on memorial trees be made in Mr Notcutt’s case. It was also agreed that the town clerk seek the views of his widow.

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