LETTER: Grave concerns

Your views.
Your views.

Following last week’s Crawley Observer article on memorials left on graves at Snell Hatch Cemetery, I’d like to clarify Crawley Borough Council’s position and explain how we deal with this sensitive subject.

On occasion it is necessary for the council to write to individual grave owners to remind them of the current regulations, which have been in place since 2010.

The majority of contacts that we make to grave owners are either to let them know that the ground has settled sufficiently to enable turf to be put down, or to let them know that, for the council to turf a grave, items on that grave will need to be moved out of harm’s way.

Unfortunately, not all the letters that are sent out by the council receive a response and, without that communication between the grave owner and the council, it is very difficult to reach agreement on how to proceed. Loss of a loved one is an individual thing, as is how that love is expressed and we are very aware that this includes a grave space.

The council recognises that it is potentially painful for grave owners to be limited in what they do on a grave space by the current cemetery rules. This is why the council tries to open a dialogue with families before any possibility of action. It is also important for us to recognise the equally valid emotions that can be experienced by families that do keep their graves within the requirements of the regulations when their neighbours do not.

Cemeteries, by their very nature, are a limited choice and when a loved one is laid to rest their friends and family become part of a community. As with most communities, there is a wealth of diversity, both individuals and families. Ensuring that everybody gets along can be very challenging and that is the purpose of the regulations, to help all in the community to understand what to expect and what is expected of others.

Periodically the council will review the regulations, to check that they meet the needs of residents. The council is currently in the process of reviewing the regulations and we would welcome any views from residents on what is important to them via email at facilities@crawley.gov.uk or writing to Facilities, Town Hall, The Boulevard, Crawley RH10 1UZ.

Cllr Geraint Thomas

Cabinet member for Environmental Services and Sustainability

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