AN INITIAL 'refusal' from a council to raise the pride flag outside its offices has left Chesham residents dismayed.

One resident took to social media to vent their anger after Chesham Town Council didn’t grant permission to fly the rainbow-coloured flag – a globally recognised symbol for the LGBTQ+ community and struggle for equal rights.

It comes after Chesham Youth Council put forward a plea to fly the flag in the town centre to mark the Pride Month this June. Pride month has been celebrated in the UK for the past 50 years, and to show solidarity with the community, who have “suffered persecution and discrimination through history,” the disgruntled resident said.

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Chesham Town Council responded that the authority must “remain neutral in these matters,” the shocked resident said on social media.

Chesham councillor Wilford Augustus responded to the refusal claims. He said: “I can confirm that I have received a number of messages which suggested I personally refused to grant the Chesham Youth Council permission to fly the LGBTQ+ flag at our war memorial during pride month, to show the Town Council’s solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. 

“In the interests of clarity, I have no such powers, and I attempted to do no such thing. I am 100% unable to make policy decisions unilaterally on behalf of Chesham Town Council, nor can any individual town councillor. 

On a one-minute-long video posted on his social media, councillor Augustus also said he had many friends and family, who are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

He said: “I want to express my most sincere and unabashed support for the community and their rights.”

The resident questioned why the pride flag couldn’t be flown since flags for the jubilee and armed forces were visible in the town.

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Chesham Town council spokesperson responded: “Unfortunately, it appears that some residents have misinterpreted Chesham Town Council's position. The council has a comprehensive and diverse commitment on inclusion and it is proud to support the LGBT+ community.

"By the same token, we do have a strict policy on flying flags on the Council's flagpole which is restricted to the Union Flag and the Town Flag.

"Despite requests over the years to fly alternative flags in support of many other laudable causes, we have remained consistent on this when we have periodically reviewed our policy.

“The three other flag poles in the Broadway are owned by the three-armed services who obviously commemorate their individual organisations accordingly.

"The council is currently looking at other ways to acknowledge and support Pride Month and, of course, would welcome suggestions on this from the public."

However, Chesham Town Council has since confirmed the Pride flag will now be flown from the Town Hall balcony next to the Ukraine flag during the rest of June and Pride Month after consultation between the councillors.