Venue: Committee Room, Council Offices, Urban Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield. View directions
Contact: Lynn Cain
Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary and Non-Disclosable Pecuniary/Other Interests
No declarations of interest were made.
(During consideration of this item,
Councillors Tony Brewer and Helen-Ann Smith entered the meeting at
Minutes PDF 159 KB
that the minutes of the meeting of the Panel
held on 13th September, 2016, be received and approved.
Introduction to New Scrutiny Review - Cemeteries and Home-Made Kerb Side Sets PDF 142 KB
The Chairman introduced the item and advised
the Panel that as part of the Scrutiny Workplan consultation,
Members had approved cemeteries maintenance as a topic that would
benefit from scrutiny consideration. In
addition, the topic had become even more relevant following recent
concerns regarding the installation of home-made kerb sets
(adjoining gravestones/plots) which have become increasingly
popular in recent years.
The Council’s Service Lead for Waste and
Environment, Sam Dennis and the Cemetery Development Officer,
Joanne Hall, were in attendance at the meeting to give an overview
of the Council’s current procedures for managing kerb sets
within the Council’s cemeteries and to enlist Members views
regarding options in the future for the future to ensure that the
current procedures are adhered to.
The Service Lead for Waste and Environment
advised Members that there had been a ban on home-made kerb sets
since 2007 and this restriction was highlighted within the Cemetery
Rules and Regulations booklet that was currently given out to any
purchasers of burial plots.
However, over the past few years there had
been a noticeable increase in the installation of home-made kerb
sets within the Council’s cemeteries. They mostly consisted of stone, wire or plastic
fencing with chippings and a range of decorations (i.e. bell
glasses, ornaments, wind chimes). The
kerb sets often encroached on land beyond their allocated burial
plots and caused ongoing difficulties for staff trying to maintain
the cemetery grounds to an acceptable standard.
The Council currently try to enforce the
regulations as follows:-
speak sensitively to relatives/friends in person at
the cemetery site and ask for the kerb set(s) to be removed within
one calendar month;
send a letter to relatives/owners of the burial
plot(s) requesting removal of the kerb set(s) within one calendar
However, removal of the kerb sets was not
currently undertaken by Council staff and they had also been
advised to leave a gap around the decorations and not attempt to
maintain them following previous injuries being sustained due to
hidden ornaments, glass, fences and decorations becoming caught up
in the machinery and the risk of future incidents.
The Cemetery Development Officer informed the
Panel that the maintenance difficulties were increasing due to the
prevalence of the kerb sets within the Council’s
cemeteries. There were risks to staff
and visitors alike with uneven grass levels, hidden kerb sets and
decorations (due to deterioration from relatives ceasing to tend
the graves) and a lack of defined paths and walkways.
Complaints were increasing (and occasionally
featuring in the press) from members of the public and burial plot
owners who believed that the over decoration of some plots was
encroaching on their relatives/friends’ plots, making them
and the overall cemetery site look messy. This issue seemed to be more prevalent within the
children’s areas where kerb sets had been erected but then
left unvisited over a period of time resulting in deterioration and
disrepair. On the opposite side, complaints were also being
received from owners of the kerb sets regarding breakages to their
view the full minutes text for item 9.