Council to tackle 'unsafe' cemetery memorials

PUBLISHED: 07:49 01 November 2019 | UPDATED: 07:49 01 November 2019

Safety works are being carried out at the Radwinter Road cemetery in Saffron Walden. Photo: ARCHANT

Safety works are being carried out at the Radwinter Road cemetery in Saffron Walden. Photo: ARCHANT

Archant

Memorials in a Saffron Walden cemetery that have been deemed unsafe by the town council are being 'secured', according to the authority.

Saffron Walden Town Council started a memorial safety programme in the summer at its Radwinter Road cemetery which has seen headstones and memorials tested to ensure they are safe to visit by the public.

The testing is done by trained staff using "industry-approved testing procedures", the council said.

A town council spokesman said: "The cemetery officer has sent letters to 'exclusive right of burial' owners who have unsafe memorials on their graves. We are aware that some owners are having remedial works carried out.

"Others have informed us they do not intend to do those works and their memorials will be secured by the council. Where there has been no response to a letter, the headstones in question will be secured by the council."

Unsafe memorials could be laid flat or sunk into the ground. They could also be secured with a temporary stake or cordoned off should they present a risk to visitors.

The spokesman added: "The council endeavours to carry this out with minimal disruption. However, we would ask that any visitors to the cemetery take note of the warning signs and exercise caution near memorials during this testing.

"We thank everyone for their patience and understanding whilst these necessary works are carried out."

The authorities will not fix memorials at the Radwinter Road cemetery, as this is a responsibility handled by members of the British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons (BRAMM). However, upon request, the council can make a memorial safe by digging it into the ground.

The town council is the land owner and is obliged to undertake this work.

Should you want additional information, contact the cemetery officer on 01799 619841.

According to the town council, the cemetery contains a lawn cemetery, a traditional area, a garden of remembrance and areas for youngsters. There is also an area dedicated to war graves, where First World War soldiers are buried. Their names and cemetery locations can be found at saffronwalden.gov.uk.

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