Maintenance and improvement works are to take place in the lawn graves area at Sutton Road cemetery from Monday 8 March 2021.
Ahead of this, people who own graves in the lawn grave section of Sutton Road Cemetery are being asked to make sure any memorabilia or other items left at the graves are in accordance with the cemetery regulations and their burial rights agreement, and to take home any items not permitted by the end of January 2021.
Permitted memorials for lawn graves include a headstone, plaque, vase or book, which may be placed at the head of the grave. Flowers can also be placed on the plinth at the top of the grave.
As lawn graves, no other items should be placed on the graves. This is to ensure maintenance and grass cutting of the lawn grave area can take place safely, and to maintain the safety of staff and visitors. Lawn graves also need to remain free of items so that staff can access new plots with large machinery to dig new graves without damaging those already in place.
Ahead of the maintenance works taking place to ensure the cemetery remains clean, tidy and safe for all visitors, grave owners are being asked to collect any unpermitted items or memorabilia from their graves by Sunday 31 January 2021.
Any personal mementoes and memorabilia not collected will be stored for four weeks. Unfortunately, due to limited storage other items such as frames, fences, concrete surrounds, and loose chippings will be disposed of. Any personal items not collected within four weeks will need to be disposed of. This does not include the area for baby graves or traditional full-length graves, but the lawn grave area of the cemetery where maintenance works is taking place.
Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “We understand that this is a very challenging time for everyone, and that any time work is carried out in the vicinity of a loved one’s grave it is very sensitive and can be upsetting.
“We also know that it will upset people for us to ask them to remove items from lawn graves. This is a very difficult situation but unfortunately, we now have many examples of where full graves have been created with surrounds for example, in an area of the cemetery which is set over for headstones and lawn only. The creation of full graves also restricts access for our staff to be able to maintain and cut the lawn area and get heavy machinery into these areas to dig new lawn graves.
“There is never a good time to ask people to do this, but we also wanted to give people as much notice as possible, and so signage was put up at the end of October to give people three months’ notice of this, and we will also be writing to grave owners who we have contact details for. Ahead of the planned works, and to allow us to be able to carry out this work properly and safely and ensure the cemetery regulations are being adhered to, we are asking families and grave owners to please take home any items that are not meant to be there by the end of January.
“I say again that we really do understand this is a difficult and sensitive situation, and so if anyone has any concerns or questions about what can and can’t be left on a lawn grave, please do contact the team who will offer support and guidance regarding this.”