Concerns have been raised by one Bude resident who feels the town council are not following their own rules when it comes to the types of flags being flown over the town’s war memorial.
The council plan to fly the Gilbert Baker (Rainbow) Pride Flag underneath the St Piran’s Flag in February to mark LGBT+ History Month and again in June to celebrate Pride month.
Dave Worth, chairman of the Bude branch of the Royal British Legion does not believe the Pride Flag can be flown from the war memorial poles under a category A flag.
However, the council say they have consulted a vexillologist who confirmed flying two flags in this way correctly follows government rules and protocol.
Mr Worth told the Post: “I was a Royal Marine Commando for 13 years before getting a medical discharge in 2001. We believe that only category A flags should be flown above a war memorial out of respect for the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War I and World War II
“At last month’s council meeting I had a talk to the council about the lack of respect shown to veterans. Shortly after however, they voted in the new flag protocol.
“They then said the Pride Flag would now fly for the whole of February for pride history month, below the Union Flag.
“In June they will also fly the new Progress Pride Flag, which will need planning permission. The council agreed to pay for the planning permission for them, which is against the flag protocol that they just voted in.
“The planning permission will cost £269 per pole, they want to fly on four poles in Bude so will cost well over £1,000, in the middle of a cost of living crisis.
“Also, when they voted, I believe there are a few on the council who are very close to Bude Pride, and I believe that should have been declared as a conflict of interest.
“A lot of Bude residents are totally mad about this.”
Despite these concerns, Mr Worth says he is fully supportive of the work Bude Pride does in the community.
“I’d like to put on record that I appreciate the work that Bude Pride do in the community and I would totally support then flying their flag from other poles in Bude, but not the one above the war memorial.”
In response to these concerns, Town Clerk, Keith Cornwell said: “The council has recently agreed a Flag Protocol – following consultation with Bude RBL and others. We are not currently flying either of the flags but the St Piran’s flag of Cornwall, which is our usual practice.
“We will, however, fly the Gilbert Baker (Rainbow) Pride Flag underneath the St Piran’s Flag in February to mark LGBT+ History Month and again in June to celebrate Pride month.
“We have researched this matter with Mr Graham Bartram who is the Chief Vexillologist from the British Flag Institute who reassured us that flying two flags in this way correctly follows government rules and protocol. The flying of the Pride flag under a category A flag is also fully supported by the national Royal British Legion and occurs on many national buildings.
“The council will fly the Union Flag on its own from the Shalder Hill flag pole, near the War Memorial on June 6 to mark the D-Day anniversary, on the weekend of Armed Forces Day and on Armistice Day through to Remembrance Sunday.
“The council does wish to fly the Progress Pride Flag as it represents a broader section of the community. For this, permission is required under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) England Regulations 2007. The Council’s Oversight Committee resolved to apply for this in December, prior to the flag protocol being adopted. This will be applied for, for one flag to fly by the Castle, Bude. The cost is £263.20 The three additional flagpoles will fly the Gilbert Baker (Rainbow) flag at no cost.
“The council has appointed two councillors as lead councillors for Diversity, Equality and LGBTQ+ matters. No councillors have a declared interest in Bude Pride and none are directors of Bude Pride CiC”