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