Relatives call for reassurance as confusion continues about personal touches at Northampton cemetery

The council has offered clarification, however relatives still have questions

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 5:00 am
Kingsthorpe Cemetery in Harborough Road.

A level of confusion remains in place at a Northampton cemetery where relatives were asked to remove certain personal touches from loved one’s graves.

In mid-January, notices were placed on some graves in Kingsthorpe Cemetery, Harborough Road, asking relatives to remove ‘pebbles, stone chippings, fencing, edging and conifers’.

The notice caused upset and heartbreak for families, so much so that a petition was set up against the ruling, which gained hundreds of signatures.

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The notice from the maintenance company.

Northampton Borough Council has now responded to say that the rules have always been in place and that personal touches are allowed as long as they do not break the boundary of the plot, which was not made clear in the original notice from the maintenance company.

The notice reads: “The placement of pebbles/stone chippings, fencing, edging and conifers are not permitted in this area.”

A spokeswoman for the council has since added: “Personal belongings are allowed in our cemeteries, as long as they adhere to the rules that are set out in our guidelines which are provided at time of purchase.

“This information is also available on our website.

“In particular sections a couple of small items are permitted, however these must be within the border of the plot and not encroaching over the border or into other grave boundaries.

“Our contractors are continuing with their annual inspections, and any plots which do not meet our cemetery guidelines will be contacted and items may be removed if the relatives fail to do so.”

Although this clarifies why some personal touches have remained in situ, Donna Brinklow, who has visited her father’s grave every week since he was buried last June, is still unsure as to whether she can keep edging and fencing in place.

She said: “It seems disjointed.

“The notice on the graves from Veolia was clear that edging and stones will be removed.

“Whereas the council seems to be saying something different.

“The notice didn’t say anything about only being removed if they are over the plot boundary so we all thought all stones and personal touches like that had to be removed.

“I’ve removed the painted pebbles from my dad’s grave because I don’t want them to be binned, but I don’t know where we stand with the edging.

“Presumably from what the council is saying, as long as the edging is away from the plot boundary, it can remain in place, but we’re not sure.

“I just want some reassurance.”

Donna also lodged a formal complaint, which has now been passed onto Northampton Borough Council and should be dealt with, including a response issued, by the end of this month.

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