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Notices on graves are defended

PUBLISHED: 15:31 06 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:29 03 July 2010

CAUSE FOR CONCERN: A caution notice on a grave.

CAUSE FOR CONCERN: A caution notice on a grave.

THE borough council has defended its policy to place caution notices on graves which

it believes to be

unstable.

In recent weeks the Mercury has published several letters from families who claim the abrupt notice slapped on their family member's grave has caused distress and is unnecessary.

THE borough council has defended its policy to place caution notices on graves which

it believes to be

unstable.

In recent weeks the Mercury has published several letters from families who claim the abrupt notice slapped on their family member's grave has caused distress and is unnecessary.

Tom Harrison, of conser-vation campaign group START, raised the issue with councillors at Monday night's Gorleston area liaison meeting.

Mr Harrison said he was motivated to raise the issue after a notice was placed on the grave of a family member, causing “great distress” to his family, he said, and questioned whether the notices were ultimately necessary.

Conservative councillor Jim Shrimplin, cabinet member for environment, said new regulations had come into force in light of recent insurance claims made by people in other parts of the country who have been injured by unstable gravestones when visiting a cemetery.

He said gravestones were checked for their stability and it wasn't simply older memorials causing the problem.

He said: “It isn't necessarily the older gravestones as although they are leaning they are more substantial. It is the modern stones we have the problem with. Stone-masons have now been

asked to put a ground anchor on the grave so it doesn't lean.”

Mr Shrimplin added: “We have duty of care to everyone who visits a council cemetery so it is necessary to put a sign up. We don't know who will be visiting the grave so we put a sign up so appropriate action can be taken.”

Mr Harrison said: “This is a sensitive area. It seems to me health and safety is a great scourge in many ways. When you talk about the duty of care, as a council is it not possible to get into a statute some simple legislation which an adult visiting a cemetery has duty of care for themselves and their children to try to get away from this compensation culture where people will sue at the drop of a hat if they think there is some money in it?”

Speaking in favour of Mr Harrison's views, Mr Shrimplin said a change in legislation would be a

matter for Parliament

and any further action should be taken up with the local MP.­

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