Bench ban for town’s cemeteries

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BEREAVED relatives can no longer buy a bench in memory of their loved ones for either of Holbeach’s cemeteries.

The town’s parish council has decided to say no to any future memorial benches because staff were struggling to manoeuvre around them for maintenance.

Speaking at Holbeach Parish Council’s meeting on Monday, Coun Terry Harrington said: “It’s such a sensitive issue to discuss but we are being inundated with seats. It does cause problems when going in there to cut the grass.

“Following on from that I do not feel we can say yes to one family and no to another. We have to make a decision one way or the other.”

Coun Harrington said the problem had arisen in the Park Road cemetery, where there is believed to be up to 30 benches.

He said maintenance of each bench was the responsibility of the family who had placed it there, a rule which is told to the families when they make the request.

Coun Michael Barter suggested the council could ask families to hand over ownership of the benches, so any found to be “in a state” could simply be removed.

However, Coun Peter Savory said that could prove to be a costly decision.

He said: “If the benches were passed over to us and we have to maintain them it would be extra costs to us.

“One we can do but 30 is a lot of work and a lot of time spent. I would be against us taking ownership of them.”

The parish council voted in favour of saying no to any future benches in the Park Road cemetery.

Councillors then voted a second time to include Hallgate cemetery in the ban after Coun Carol Johnson said they should not differentiate between the two cemeteries.