CEMETERY BATTLE ENDS
Council to start ‘laid to lawn’ work
A BATTLE between bereaved families and a council about plans to grass over graves has come to an end after five months.
Chalfont St Peter Parish Council has announced it will implement a ‘laid to lawn’ policy at the Garden of Rest, with work set to begin this week.
The move has distressed some families who tend to the plots of loved ones at the cemetery. They will no longer be able to decorate a full plot and have instead been offered a separate area to tend.
The council began discussing the policy in 2009 and explained the ‘laid to lawn’ rules contained in contracts for the plots.
In a letter published in today’s Advertiser (see pages 14&15), chairwoman Linda Smith said the policy was adopted ‘to enable consistency and an atmosphere of dignity and serenity appropriate to the cemetery whilst also ensuring safety and efficiency’.
She said: “Every burial plot in the new laid to lawn section allows for a small area of planting in front of the headstone as can be found in similar laid to lawn cemeteries all over the UK, including Amersham.
“The parish council is of course very sympathetic to the fact that this dispute has arisen during a period of personal grief for the families involved but is bound by the regulations in place when plots are sold within the new laid to lawn section.”
The policy states 85 per cent of a plot must be grass, for ease of maintenance.
The rules will affect the 58 plots in section K and all future plots bought at the cemetery.
Liz Reed, whose father is buried in section K, wrote to the council: “I am dismayed and disheartened that you have not attempted to meet one bit of the compromise that we requested, despite our simple, rational, reasonable and clear pleas.”
Four women made a final stand in protest against the plans at a council meeting on Friday last week. One woman gave councillors a note from her grandchildren at the meeting, which pleaded with them to stop the policy so they can tend to their grandfather’s grave.
PROTEST: (From left) Karen Fisher, Sally Gomme, Auriol Welch and Ann Wallis make their feelings known outside the meeting
TAKING A BREAK: