How does this not ‘upset anyone’?
RE: Strong feelings over grave plan (page 11, Advertiser, October 2) ACCORDING to Chalfont St Peter Parish Council, ‘in 2009 the council received numerous complaints about the Garden of Rest’.
Complaints are not mentioned in the council’s minutes.
From May 2009 to June 2011, the council debates gravestones safety. In May 2009 and later meetings, the issue of inappropriate memorials is also raised. These are both cited in the council’s Garden of Rest fact sheet in September 2014 as reasons for the new policy.
Laying to lawn will not solve either of these issues. Grass will not support headstones. The cemetery regulations allow the council to remove inappropriate memorials.
The council claims that this policy was reached after ‘extensive research and debate was carried out’.
Councillor Hatton attended a workshop on cemetery management in the summer of 2009. In December 2009, Councillor Mrs Darby states that ‘to keep the GoR looking decent, we would have to go down this route’ and that ‘regulations would be easier to enforce’. This, apparently, is research and debate.
The council insists that the change is not being made for financial reasons.
It was noted in December 2009 that ‘in the short term it would be less expensive to maintain’.
At least the council has offered a meeting to discuss the issue.
In a letter to Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan MP, the council states it will have a meeting ‘but will not be changing or going to a further consultation regarding this matter’.
The council insists that it does not want to upset anyone.
The council seems determined to bulldoze this change through despite protests and petitions. In fact, it appears that despite the sensitivity of this issue, the work on Section K is already starting.
DR IAN REED
A DOVE paid a visit to a garden in Stoke Poges to take advantage of a water feature.
Reader Janet Mitchell, of Duffield Lane, took this snap of the bird seeming to enjoy a shower.
Do you have an eye for a good photograph? Would like to see meeting. A petition of more than 470 signatures opposing their plan was also handed in. I raised the following item: Your decision in 2011 to grass over graves following complaints about falling headstones, placing of inappropriate memorials and unkempt gravesides, does not apply to the graves of the recently departed in Section K. Moreover, it contradicts the statement on your website that the council is not responsible for ‘the maintenance of individual graves’.
I stated that my family opposes their plans as tending to my dad’s grave is extremely important in our family grieving process and that we wish to continue to tend to my dad’s grave.
The plea of those who attended was unanimous and simple. We asked for a compromise – give families the option to continue to maintain the graveside themselves or to grass over. Lay to lawn where families are happy to have this done or have expressed no preference.
Should a time come when these graves are not maintained, then issue a notice to families that it will be laid to lawn.
It was difficult to gauge how the councillors felt, as many of them sat with their backs to us for the duration of the meeting.
My mother and I have accepted an offer to discuss the matter next Tuesday with the parish clerk and chairman of the parish council. However, what this may achieve is questionable since the clerk has stated in previous correspondence, but not to the affected families, that
bucksnews@ trinitysouth.co.uk ONL
‘the council will not be changing or going to a further consultation regarding this matter’.
LIZ REED Oxfordshire