A MAYOR has put a controversial proposal to ban mementos from graves on hold so that the council can discuss a way forward with Copeland residents.

Copeland Borough Council announced its intentions to remove ornaments from graves in March due to difficulties keeping the cemetery properly maintained.

But Mayor of Copeland Mike Starkie has put the plans on hold following public outcry and the submission of a petition opposing the removal of grave ornaments.

The petition to “Stop Copeland Council banning grave displays” has been signed by more than 800 Copeland residents.

READ MORE: Grieving families hit out at Copeland Council decision to remove items from graves at Whitehaven Cemetery

And the mayor has now said that the council will co-operate with the public on arrangements in the cemetery.

Speaking at a meeting of the executive yesterday, Mr Starkie said: “We’ve decided to put everything on hold. The cemetery will go back to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee who will set up a task and finish group and they will make recommendations which will come back to the executive.”

The public will be given their say before the council’s task force advises the leadership on what should be done.

Mr Starkie said: “I think the plan is to invite members of the public to attend the Overview and Scrutiny meetings and we can solicit views from all parts of the community.

“That’s what we set out to do in the first place, we’ll try to do what we can do to accommodate the wishes of as many people as we possibly can.

READ MORE: People power - Copeland scraps cemetery plans for now

“I’d like it to go back to a public meeting before it goes to executive to give the public advanced notice of what’s considered, to take any further feedback, anything they think has been potentially missed or we should do differently.”

Public meetings, which were well attended by emotional bereaved residents, were held to discuss the situation while plans to remove the ornaments were still in place.