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Preston Cemetery grave decoration rules approved – but more ‘time to think’ urged

Posted on - 15th March, 2018 - 9:52pm | Author - | Posted in - Fishwick, Politics, Preston Council, Preston News, Ribbleton
Preston Cemetery which borders Fishwick and Ribbleton Pic: spudfrawley
Preston Cemetery which borders Fishwick and Ribbleton Pic: spudfrawley

Controversial proposals to keep and enforce the rules around decorating graves in Preston Cemetery have been approved – but they face further scrutiny.

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Preston City Council’s cabinet opted to support the proposal to limit grave memorialisation at the cemetery in Ribbleton.

Families and the Friends of the Cemetery group have fought a long campaign to get the city council to re-think on the issue. A petition signed by 4,5000 people asked for a review of the rules.

In November last year a consultation was run to ask cemetery users for their views and they were asked to vote on four options.

Read more: These were the four options for Preston Cemetery grave rules

They voted in favour of personal graves being allowed to be decorated to their full length.

However, a report to the city council’s cabinet recommended the current rules – of decoration or fencing only up to two foot six inches be enforced.

Council officers state not enforcing the rule would increase the cost of upkeeping the cemetery and presented a health and safety risk to the public.

Opposition to the rules

Conservative leader councillor Neil Cartwright said he was preparing to ‘call-in’ the decision, forcing councillors to think again.

Cllr Cartwright said: “We need to know exactly how big a problem the grave decorations present and explore what the cost of a compromise is.

“I am hopeful we can call-in the decision and this will give some breathing space.

“I think having a delay and giving the council a chance to engage again with the Friends group is important.

“I took myself off to the new ceremony to look at the graves and I am struggling to see how extending the area allowed for grave decoration would increase the costs of upkeep.

“I hope a compromise can be found and this is a chance to say to the executive, take a step back, and consider the decision again.”

No official request has been received to call-in the decision, but councillor Cartwright and others have until early on the week beginning 19 March to do so – once the decision notice is published.

Read more: Family left distraught after finding earth mound near grave

What the council had to say

Deputy leader of Preston City Council councillor Robert Boswell said: “Last night Cabinet made the difficult decision to maintain the current rules regarding grave memorialisation at Preston Cemetery.

“As to whether or not it will be called in, I cannot comment. However scrutiny is an important part o the democratic process and members are fully entitled to call decisions in if they feel it is necessary.”

Update: Confirmation was given on Friday 23 March the decision has been called-in. It will be discussed at a future scrutiny committee meeting.

What do you think about the grave memorialisation rules? Let us know in the comments below

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