A DECISION to spend nearly £3,000 on new regalia for the mayor and deputy mayor of St Neots has sparked a row among councillors.

A DECISION to spend nearly £3,000 on new regalia for the mayor and deputy mayor of St Neots has sparked a row among councillors.

Town councillors were split over whether to buy a new chain and ceremonial robe for the deputy mayor, Cllr Alan Cummings, and a new robe for the mayor, Cllr Gordon Thorpe.

Members of the council were also asked to refurbish the chain which is worn by the mayoress.

The total cost of the regalia, which includes robes, hats and the chain, would be £2,960 according to a report by town clerk, Helen King.

At the town council meeting last Tuesday (June 8), Cllr Thorpe said the new regalia would provide a "strong and recognised identify for the council".

Cllr Julia Hayward added: "I think this town lacks a real sense of civic identity in the way that our neighbours have. We should consider elevating out mayor slightly so he stands out and has a real sense of identity in the town."

However, Cllr Barry Chapman wanted a more prudent approach to spending Council Tax money.

"I think for something that looks like a dress, £3,000 is a lot of money," he said. "It seems as though it's more like the regalia the Lord Mayor of London would wear rather than the mayor of St Neots.

"I don't think it's appropriate in these times when we have a lot of hardship in the town, and in the country in general, that we are seen to be spending this sort of money on regalia."

His views were back by Cllr Les Roberts who said: "I think it may look ridiculous to spend this amount of money on robes."

Cllr Steve van de Kerkhove raised concerns that future town mayors may not want to wear the new regalia.

Cllr Brenda Arnold's suggested finding a cheaper tailor Cllr Jennifer Bird's asked for the spending to be deferred until the end of the financial year.

But both suggestions were not taken up and St Neots Town Council the decision to spend nearly £3,000 on the regalia was passed, with six councillors voting in favour and five against.

Is spending £3,000 on mayoral regalia good use of Council Tax money? Or is it essential for the town's mayor to look their best when representing St Neots? E-mail your views to editor@huntspost.co.uk, including your name and address.