CEME­TERY BAT­TLE ENDS

Coun­cil to start ‘laid to lawn’ work

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Lor­can Lovett lor­can.lovett@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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.

Con­trib­uted

PROTEST: (From left) Karen Fisher, Sally Gomme, Au­riol Welch and Ann Wal­lis make their feel­ings known out­side the meet­ing

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