A PAIR of Chard councillors have moved swiftly to address concerns ‘flagged up’ by residents about a town centre feature conspicuous by its absence.
Last Saturday, celebrations took place up and down the country following the birth of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.
However, some residents were left “irate” after it was pointed out that the Guildhall did not fly a flag to celebrate the royal birth.
During last Saturday’s market, a number of shoppers asked Councillor Cathie Morrison why the town was not appropriately marking the birth.
Unable to answer the concerns, Cllr Morrison was joined by Cllr Dave Bulmer to head into the Guildhall and delve into the procedures and protocol documents, only to find no mention of a royal birth.
“It was not something we thought of at the time,” said Cllr Morrison. “We put the documents together probably a year or more ago and there was nothing imminent expected so it didn’t occur to us.
“I was trading on the market and few people came up to me and said about the royal birth and why wasn’t the flag flying on the Guildhall.
“Myself and Cllr Bulmer decided to go and speak to the caretaker and thumb through the documents relating to flag-flying protocol.
“There was nothing there, so I have asked the Town Clerk to put it on the next Guildhall and Amenities committee agenda in June so that we can see what other councillors say about it, because it is up to the council has a whole, not a just a couple of people wanting to see it there.
“But it is clearly important to residents who have flagged the issue with us in the first place.
“I just wanted to explain to concerned residents why it was that the flag wasn’t there.
A few people who spoke to me were pretty irate and disappointed in the council that we weren’t flying a flag.”
Cllr Dave Bulmer, who is one of the frontrunners to become the new Mayor of Chard at next week’s full town council, added that it was important that the town marks such occasions.
He said: “We both had several comments and I couldn’t remember the protocol details off the top of my head.
We wanted to find out about it and get it on to an agenda for discussion.
“I think it is something that we do need to revisit as a council, as it appears to have just been left out of the protocol documents.
“Quite simply, it’s not very often you have a royal birth and it is something to celebrate.
“People are patriotic and that is something which should be encouraged. It is important that the people of Chard are satisfied that we are doing the right thing.”
It is not the first time the absence of town hall’s flag has attracted attention. In 2009, then-Mayor Martin Wale offered £50 for the safe return of the feature after it was stolen from its rightful position atop the Guildhall.