Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


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 6.33 p.m.)



Minutes pdf icon 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 icon 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 month.


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.