Preston Cemetery memorials review halted by council

Posted on - 8th September, 2016 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Preston Council, Preston News, Ribbleton

The grave of Jon-Jo Highton in Preston Cemetery

Pressure from parents who have been told they may face having to remove tributes from graves of their children may have triggered a council u-turn.

Rules about the size and nature of memorials and headstones are to be reviewed by Preston City Council.

Families of those buried in the cemetery had been sent a letter warning them memorials placed on graves were not complying with regulations.

One of the 80 families to receive a letter was the mother of Jon-Jo Highton.

Tracey Highton, 43, had been told she had 28 days to remove the memorials to her son who was stabbed to death in Deepdale.

Read more: Hidden Preston to be revealed during Heritage Open Days

Deputy leader of Preston City Council councillor John Swindells said: “There are rules at the Cemeteries and these are very important. This is a place where people pay their respects, so the Cemeteries have to be well maintained and as much is possible, a welcoming place for people to visit.

“We must provide a safe environment for the public and when digging graves, so both the old and new Cemeteries are laid out in a lawned arrangement with grass covering graves, all of which is maintained by the council. And we are committed to a high quality of maintenance at the Cemeteries.”

“I have though been contacted by a number of people who were concerned that the Council would immediately remove memorials from their loved one’s graves. This was never the case, but it has made me realise we do need to do more to understand the situation at the Cemeteries.

“What are the options? What are the alternatives? What is it that people want at the Cemeteries? What are the costs and, as a council, do we have the funding and resources to provide this? All these are issues we need to resolve and I simply don’t think we are there just yet.

“So there will be no enforcement action for current memorials, until we have carried out this review and importantly, had full public consultation on what people want and expect at Preston’s Cemeteries.

“As always, the council will try to respond to the local community. Though, the old adage ‘you can never please all the people all the time’ is very true. We want to work in a reasonable and sensible way. One that meets the needs of local people but also preserves the Cemeteries for the next 100 years and more.”

What are the cemetery rules?

The current rules allow for an area of up to 2’ 6” from the head of the grave, and this space allows for any headstone or memorial.

These rules allow for graves to be dug safely and also ensures that memorials can be properly maintained in the future when current family and friends are no long able to tend to the graves.

What do you think about the cemetery and the memorials? Let us know in the comments below

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