Legal wrangle over road to cemetery

WORK to improve access to Ipswich cemetery has been put on hold after a legal wrangle developed over the ownership of an access road.Ipswich council had been due to spend about £50,000 improving Cemetery Lane – resurfacing the road and improving lighting.

WORK to improve access to Ipswich cemetery has been put on hold after a legal wrangle developed over the ownership of an access road.

Ipswich council had been due to spend about £50,000 improving Cemetery Lane – resurfacing the road and improving lighting.

However an agency engineer working temporarily for the borough spotted that the road was privately owned – and now work has had to be shelved while the ownership is cleared up.

"The road was built in 1936 on land owned by the Tollemache brewery. They asked the council to maintain it and gave them some money for that," said engineer Quentin Robinson.


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"But over time that seems to have been forgotten and the council is planning these big improvements.

"Part of the problem is that the ownership is not that clear. Tollemache merged with Cobbold – but then in the 80s and 90s they underwent so many changes of ownership and splits in the business it isn't at all clear who owns the road now."

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Mr Robinson said he had pointed out the ownership dispute when he was working with the council – but no one seemed very interested.

"Effectively the council has been spending thousands and thousands of council taxpayers money on something they don't own and shouldn't be maintaining.

"How many police officers could £50,000 buy?" he said. Mr Robinson moved to a new job earlier this month.

However after he pointed out the dispute, the council put a hold on the work while the ownership of the road is under investigation.

Council officials are hoping to speak to representatives of the successor companies of the old Tolly Cobbold brewery to establish exactly who is responsible for its maintenance.

Only the ownership of the road itself is in question – the cemetery itself is definitely owned by the council.

And if there was any question of the road becoming unsafe, the borough could step in and do repairs.

It would then have to recover the costs from the roads owner – if the ownership could be established.

A borough official denied council taxpayers' money had been spent on a road it did not own: "We do this work as agents for the county council and the matter is being dealt with by their solicitors.

"The programme of work for that road has been drawn up and we will be ready to go as soon as this is all sorted out," he said.

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