Council set to enforce ban on home made cemetery kerb sets

The cemetery at St. Mary's Church, Sutton.
The cemetery at St. Mary's Church, Sutton.

Ashfield District council is set to enforce rules banning home made cemetery kerb sets in the district’s cemeteries.

The authority’s cabinet has been recommended to approve the move at a meeting on Monday.

Waste and environment portfolio holder, councillor Tim Brown, said: “A review on the implications of kerb sets in Ashfield cemeteries was necessary to address concerns from visitors and staff alike in relation to maintenance issues.

He added: “We recognise that this is a highly emotive topic and will address it in a sensitive and considerate manner to enable us to maintain the district’s cemeteries more effectively for everyone.”

A report presented to the meeting says homemade kerb sets are not permitted in the council’s cemeteries because of the significant difficulties they can cause for mourners and funeral operators accessing neighbouring graves, as well as inhibiting grass cutting and maintenance and potentially causing injury.

The council has also received complaints that the sets sometimes encroach on other plots.

Where homemade kerb sets have been placed on graves, the cemetery keeper does not carry out any maintenance and this leaves plots looking untidy and uncared for.

Ashfield District Council provides lawn type graves, maintained at no expense to the grave owner. Headstones are permitted and can have a marble or granite vase plate on which flowers or wreaths can be placed. For maintenance reasons, nothing else is allowed to be placed or grown on or around the grave.

The report adds: “The council is keen to ensure that all of its cemeteries are well maintained and provide appropriate peace and tranquillity for all visitors. In recent years, there have been some maintenance difficulties from the number of homemade kerb sets around a number of the grave plots.

“The Council recognises that bereaved families have their individual wishes for their loved-one’s burial place and that it can be upsetting when this is at odds with what is and is not permitted, however the regulations are there to ensure a safe and well-kept environment for all who visit the cemetery.”

The Council will also look to work with community groups to explore options for providing a memorial/reflection area or community garden in each cemetery to allow grieving relatives, friends and visitors to place items of remembrance for their loved ones.