With regard to the recent inspection and laying down of unsafe memorial headstones at Frolesworth Road Cemetery the Parish Council would like to explain why and how to this came about.
All Local Burial Authorities (Parish, District or other Councils) have a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act to ensure all memorials are safe in any public graveyard or cemetery they manage.
The Parish ground staff will undertake visual inspections whilst working at the cemetery and have on occasions reported concerns to the Parish Office who then contact (where possible) the owners, family or heirs. However they are not able or qualified to undertake a structural inspection and testing. This has to be carried out by a certified and qualified inspector.
Certain posts have not given the correct information and to clarify this please see below.
1. Statutory Notice of Inspection was displayed on the public notice board at the cemetery two months prior to the inspection taking place. This was also shown on the Parish Council website.
2. Individual notices of inspection are not able to be given due to the number of interments.
3. The reason that a headstone is laid down immediately following the inspection is because as it is deemed unsafe the inspector cannot leave it upright.
4. The inspector provides a full and detailed report of each unsafe memorial which will be shared with the owners, family or heirs following contact with the Parish Office.
5. The safety standard requirement of headstones is not set by the Parish Council. It is a national standard to comply with British Standard 8415-2018 (NAMM).
6. The Parish Council has a duty of care to everyone who enters the cemetery grounds which includes members of the public, council staff, undertakers etc.
7. Once the reports had all been received by the Parish Council an individual notice was placed on each affected memorial.
8. The Parish Council then take every measure to contact the owner, family or heirs to inform them of the result of the inspection only if it failed inspection. Tracing the owners, family and heirs is currently being undertaken with some already having been contacted and they are arranging repairs. This is a time consuming process and is made more problematical if living relatives or heirs have failed to inform the Parish Council of any change of address.
9. Once relatives or heirs have been contacted they will be able to organise the repair to NAMM standard and must provide a certification of this to the Parish Council.
10. The Parish Council has not broken the law nor is the result of the inspection deemed a desecration of the graves.
11. The upkeep, maintenance and repair to all memorials/headstones remains the responsibility of the owner, family or heirs. As per the Terms and Conditions of the Cemetery.
12. If a memorial needs repairing no payment is made to the Parish Council, the owner, family or heirs make this directly to their chosen stonemason (does not have to be G Seller but does have to be NAMM affiliated). The Parish Council receives no payment for this work, however has had to pay for the inspection.
The Parish Council appreciates that this is a very emotive subject however, they are not responsible for how an inspection takes place but must arrange for it to take place.
If any concerns have not been answered in the above statement we ask that you please contact the Parish Council Office as individual enquiries will not be responded to on social media platforms.
Parish Manager - Broughton Astley Parish Council
Posted: Sat, 06 Feb 2021 20:56 by Parish Manager