Extra security at Hatfield cemetery after grave ornament rows

PUBLISHED: 09:47 03 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:45 03 August 2018

Hatfield Lawn Cemetery. Picture: DANNY LOO

Hatfield Lawn Cemetery. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Additional security measures are being put in place at a Hatfield cemetery following rows over the removal of grave ornaments.

Hatfield Lawn Cemetery. Picture: DANNY LOOHatfield Lawn Cemetery. Picture: DANNY LOO

Cemetery services staff will no longer attend Welwyn Hatfield Council’s Lawn Cemetery on their own.

Videocams will be used and telephone calls recorded.

Investigations are also underway for placing CCTV at the entrance and/or within the cemetery area.

In a report to members of the Cabinet, meeting on August 7, a cemetery services officer writes: “Memorial management has been an issue for several years, primarily since 2004.

“It is a bone of contention between the council and deed holders and needs to be resolved with full understanding and communication of the background to any decisions made.”

Lawn Cemetery rules and regulations state that no memorial ornaments can be placed on the lawn area of the grave and must be within the concrete plinth provided by the council.

Officers received comments from cemetery users regarding the lack of enforcement, so a process of grave clearing was initiated.

Complaints have been received from both sides via the council and verbally, according to the officer’s report.

She also highlighted that research had been carried out into religious and cultural beliefs, for example those of gypsies and travellers.

She noted: “These deed holders also advise that they do not have a choice as there are no other cemeteries in the borough where they can have full grave sets.

“If they go outside the borough, they will pay at least triple fees.

“Nearly all of these deed holders tend to their graves well and are regular visitors to the cemetery, often daily.

“Their tradition is also for family to be buried in the same cemetery so the council are seeing a significant rise is requests for plot reservations.”

The council is putting additional procedures in place for future burials, stressing the regulations in place at the cemetery.

There are proposals within the Draft Local Plan (currently under examination) to extend the size of the current Lawn Cemetery.

If this goes ahead, the council would look to include more variety in burial options, which would include full kerb sets.

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