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Deaths and funerals

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

8. Graves and grounds maintenance

Memorials

Any memorial placed on a grave is the responsibility of the owner of the Exclusive Right of Burial who must make sure any works needed to prevent injury to others are carried out. Your stonemason may offer a service to clean and maintain memorials.

Sometimes we may need to move a memorial from a grave so that we can access another nearby for burial. Every care will be taken to try to ensure no damage is caused to the grave or memorial.

Flowers

Cemeteries staff will arrange the floral tributes after the funeral. You may remove the floral tributes yourself if you wish at any time, but after 14 days they will be removed by us and disposed of.

Any wreaths or other tributes specifically for the Christmas period will be taken away four weeks after Christmas.

Planting or ornamentation of graves

The planting or ornamentation of any grave spaces must be subject to our approval. We have the right to remove shrubs, plants, or flowers, or any artificial ornaments.

Anyone who removes weeds, dead flowers or any other rubbish from graves must place them in the bins provided.

Maintenance of grave spaces

Our staff will, at the appropriate time after the funeral, grass seed the grave space except the area where planting is permitted. They will continue to mow and maintain the grass area. You may plant in the permitted area with bedding plants but not shrubs or trees.

Alternatively if you're unable to visit a grave in person because you live outside the area, there is a free service operated by Tendagrave which will put you in touch with other people in a similar situation. You then offer to tend a grave for them in your local area and, in return, they will look after 'your' grave. You can get more information from the Tendagrave website.

Litter bins are provided and there are water supplies at a number of locations in the cemeteries.

Whilst visiting the cemeteries the following needs to be observed:

  • It is not permitted to scatter cremated remains anywhere in the cemeteries
  • Visitors must keep to the footpaths or roads, except while visiting a grave, and avoid touching the trees, shrubs or flowers
  • No children under the age of 14 are allowed in the cemeteries unless accompanied by a responsible person
  • No dogs or other animals allowed in the cemeteries or chapels (except guide and hearing dogs)
  • No cycling or related activities
  • No radios, loudspeakers, or similar equipment
  • No photographs, video films or other forms of media are to be taken within the cemeteries for publication without prior consent of the cemeteries officer
  • No standing or sitting on gravestones
  • Only authorised vehicles and those with a blue or orange badge on display are allowed within the cemeteries with the sole purpose of visiting a grave
  • Vehicles forming part of a funeral procession are permitted to follow the hearse to the graveside. Access may be restricted when a burial is taking place, we would ask for your patience and respect until the mourners have left the cemetery;

Materials and installation

All gravestones and monuments in the cemeteries must be made of durable natural stone with the exception of bronze plaques in Flat Plaque areas.  No brick, block, wood or wire. Surrounds are permitted and will be removed. Vases must be of durable natural stone.  No jars, glassware, ceramic or ornaments are allowed on graves.

All installation including fixing of monuments and memorials and all subsequent work

in the cemeteries must be carried out under the Code of Practice of the National Association of Memorial Masons in force at the time of the works or to a higher standard.

Requirement for approval and issue of licence

The owner of exclusive right of burial in a grave would normally get a stonemason to supply and erect memorials within the cemeteries.  The stonemason can apply for permission on their behalf. All tombs, monuments, headstones, gravestones, or other erections and all inscriptions must comply with these regulations.  A copy of every inscription, description of materials to be used and a drawing of every erection will need to be provided to us at least 14 days before the date which it is proposed to erect the same.  No monument, memorial or landing shall be placed until we have approved it and a permit has been issued.  Please note that any additional inscriptions on existing monuments or memorials also require permission and a permit.

Every gravestone, monument or the like, must be placed within a period of five years of the giving of notice of burial.  The council may, at its discretion, allow the installation of a gravestone, monument or the like after this time if requested to do so.

Temporary memorials

A wooden cross or upright post no more than two feet high may be used as a temporary marker on graves where a memorial permit has been granted but ground conditions prevent the installation of the permanent memorial.  The temporary marker must be in accordance with standards determined by the council and removed when the permanent memorial has been installed or 12 months after the date of the last interment, whichever is sooner.

Maintenance of monuments and memorial

All graves, tombs, monuments and headstones must be kept in good order and repair by the owner. If any grave, tomb, monument or headstone erected by the owner of an exclusive right of burial in any space on such space, or any mound on a grave, shall become dilapidated, we shall be entitled to remove it. Any monument or part of any monument that is removed and replaced with another monument or part thereof shall be charged for as if a new monument has been installed.  Should, however, a part only of any monument be broken, then such part thereof may be replaced without payment of any fee. We cannot be held responsible for accidental damage or vandalism to monuments or memorials.

Removal and replacement of memorials

Should it be necessary for memorials to be removed in order to allow for the reopening of a grave or vault this must be arranged by the person arranging the interment and any costs incurred paid by them.  Any monument, gravestone, or other memorial taken down upon the opening of a grave or upon any other occasion shall not be replaced before 12 months. We reserve the right to remove memorials temporarily to permit access to other grave spaces and we will arrange for the replacement as soon as practicable.

Identification mark

We reserve the right of placing and continuing upon any grave, tomb, or vault, their private mark of reference, which must not be removed.

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