News readers slam council’s ‘lack of respect’
Council:No evidenceof subsidence
The Scottish Government is preparing new guidance on safety inspections in cemeteries.
The move comes after the tragic death of eight-year-old Ciaran Williamson, who was killed while playing with friends in Craigton cemetery in Glasgow in May 2015.
A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) found his death could have been avoided if safety precautions had been taken in the cemetery.
South Lanarkshire Council told the News it has an established programme in place to test headstones.
Fully-trained operatives use a‘topple-test’method and, if deemed to be unsafe, will lay the headstone flat and cordon off the surrounding area or‘trench in’ the headstone.
Around 20,000 headstones have been checked in South Lanarkshire in the past two years alone.
Commenting on the latest complaint this week, Alistair McKinnon, head of facilities, waste and grounds services, said:“During a routine safety inspection this headstone was found to be unsafe and was secured.
“There is no evidence of any subsidence in this area, rain has washed away soil around the base of the headstone and due to a shallow foundation it has become unsafe.
“South Lanarkshire Council will replace the foundation at no charge, however, it is the responsibility of the customer to instruct a memorial mason to re-erect the headstone and pay for this work.
“South Lanarkshire Council has not changed its position. It is established policy to cover the cost to install new foundations where the headstone is unsafe due to the previous foundation failing.” The‘eyesore’signage at Philipshill Cemetery has been slammed by News online readers.
Harley Mathieson posted: “As it’s your responsibility to make sure the headstone is properly maintained the council would say it is only doing its job to warn – but in such a jobsworthy manner.
“I would expect that even a small headstone would cause damage but I do agree that this could perhaps be handled in a less crass fashion.
“Can’t imagine there is much risk of kids playing in Philipshill graveyard either. Don’t see them putting signs up or laying down stones at the Necropolis or other famous graveyards either so I think it’s a bit of an overreaction.”
Craig Archbold said:“The stone for my late mother and sister was one of them. As usual, council does things the wrong way round – totally disrespectful to those laid to rest and the families left behind.
“Letters should’ve been sent and an opportunity to rectify the issues, not stick five-inch posts smack bang in middle of loved-ones’headstones. South Lanarkshire Council should be ashamed of themselves.”
Mandy Penman wrote:“Bit of a cheek considering how little they maintain the town. As council tax paying members of the public, can we put signs up where SLC clearly aren’t bothering their backside?”
However, Elaine Currie backed the move and said:“I think they’re right to stake them when unsafe. I 100 per cent sympathise with the families but best to tend to it before further damage occurs.”
Bernie McCampbell added: “We found the stake at our family headstone a couple of weeks ago and the cost from the stonemason to make it safe is £250 plus VAT.
“I was upset to see it like that but realised that if it was unsafe then anyone coming anywhere near it needs to know that.
“We would be devastated if anyone got hurt from it.
“I do think letters should have been sent out to the families, though, to make them aware of what is going on, so not as much of a shock.”