‘How long does it take to re­build a col­lapsed wall?’

Campbeltown Courier - - FRONT PAGE - Han­nah O’Han­lon ed­i­tor@camp­bel­town­courier.co.uk

A Machri­han­ish man has been left ‘dev­as­tated’ by a col­lapsed wall in Kilk­er­ran Ceme­tery which pre­vents him from ac­cess­ing his wife’s memo­rial as the an­niver­sary of her death ap­proaches. David Bax­ter told the Courier that a large sec­tion of the wall, on which his wife Jil­lian’s memo­rial is placed, has been bro­ken for ‘at least four months’ and that it looks like a ‘bomb site’. ‘It’s gone on and on and on and it’s not good enough,’ said Mr Bax­ter. ‘It looks aw­ful.’ The wall runs be­tween a sec­tion of the ceme­tery’s head­stones and the burn which flows through the grave­yard. It has now been cor­doned off, mean­ing ac­cess is pro­hib­ited to the me­mo­ri­als which are at­tached to the back of the wall, mark­ing where peo­ple’s ashes are laid to rest. ‘I chose that spot be­cause it’s a nice, peace­ful part of the ceme­tery, be­side the river,’ Mr Bax­ter told the Courier. ‘Why has the coun­cil taken four months to do any­thing about this? ‘This is not a bus shel­ter, it’s where peo­ple are ly­ing in rest.’ Fam­ily mem­bers will be trav­el­ling from Glas­gow to visit Mrs Bax­ter’s memo­rial to mark the an­niver­sary of her pass­ing, on Septem­ber 29 last year. ‘I am dev­as­tated if my fam­ily have to see it like that,’ Mr Bax­ter said. ‘Coun­cil staff have been very apolo­getic but they talk of bud­gets and cuts and it’s not ac­cept­able.’ There is a large, vis­i­ble crack, which Mr Bax­ter es­ti­mates to be three-four me­tres long, on the re­main­ing sec­tion of wall, which he says ‘could be down with the next strong wind’. ‘This has been my last re­sort,’ Mr Bax­ter said. ‘I keep hop­ing to come and find it sorted or even the work started – I wouldn’t care if it took two months as long as progress was be­ing made.’ Mr Bax­ter con­tacted the Courier the same week as it was an­nounced that the coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­ment, de­vel­op­ment and in­fra­struc­ture com­mit­tee had up­dated its pol­icy for the main­te­nance and safety of ceme­ter­ies in the area. The re­port warned that any me­mo­ri­als thought by coun­cil staff to be un­safe will be laid flat on the ground at the next in­spec­tion to pre­vent in­ci­dents in­volv­ing fall­ing head­stones. Coun­cil­lor John Ar­mour, who Mr Bax­ter con­tacted re­gard­ing the is­sue, said: ‘I have great sym­pa­thy with Mr Bax­ter’s ex­pe­ri­ence, it must be dis­tress­ing for rel­a­tives in cases like this. ‘I have spo­ken to coun­cil of­fi­cers and urged them to en­sure that the prob­lem is at­tended to with­out de­lay.’ An Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil spokesper­son said: ‘Be­fore deal­ing with the dam­age, we had to bring in a spe­cial­ist con­trac­tor to re­move tree roots that were un­der­min­ing the wall. ‘With this done, we will be able to take down and then re­place the wall, mak­ing it sound for many years to come. Work is sched­uled to start next week.’

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Mr Bax­ter be­side the bro­ken sec­tion of wall which is now cor­doned off.

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There is a large crack on the re­main­ing sec­tion of wall.

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