Rows erupt at Hatfield cemetery protest

PUBLISHED: 13:38 01 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:15 01 May 2018

(L-R) Robert Potter, Tina Potter and Andrew Potter are unhappy with Welwyn Hatfield Council plans to remove flowers and tributes left on loved-ones graves including their mother, Jean Cutler's. Picture: DANNY LOO

(L-R) Robert Potter, Tina Potter and Andrew Potter are unhappy with Welwyn Hatfield Council plans to remove flowers and tributes left on loved-ones graves including their mother, Jean Cutler's. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Grieving families are protesting at a Hatfield cemetery in a bid to stop the council from removing memorial items from graves.

(L-R) Robert Potter, Tina Potter and Andrew Potter are unhappy with Welwyn Hatfield Council plans to remove flowers and tributes left on loved-ones graves including their mother, Jean Cutler's. Picture: DANNY LOO(L-R) Robert Potter, Tina Potter and Andrew Potter are unhappy with Welwyn Hatfield Council plans to remove flowers and tributes left on loved-ones graves including their mother, Jean Cutler's. Picture: DANNY LOO

Tina Potter, who is currently at the cemetery protesting, described the atmosphere as “horrible”.

Last month the borough council sent out letters to families who have loved ones buried at the Hatfield Lawn Cemetery to inform them that they would be “returning” the S section to a lawn cemetery.

Relatives were told that they have until today - Tuesday, May 1 - to remove the items from graves otherwise they would be removed by the council and placed in bags and left on plinths for a short time for collection.

The council also offered to help with the removal of items.

(L-R) Robert Potter, Tina Potter and Andrew Potter are unhappy with Welwyn Hatfield Council plans to remove flowers and tributes left on loved-ones graves including their mother, Jean Cutler's. Picture: DANNY LOO(L-R) Robert Potter, Tina Potter and Andrew Potter are unhappy with Welwyn Hatfield Council plans to remove flowers and tributes left on loved-ones graves including their mother, Jean Cutler's. Picture: DANNY LOO

Tina’s mum Jean Cutler, who lived in Welwyn Garden City for over 40 years and died on May 24 last year, is buried in the cemetery.

The family are on the scene now protesting by her grave along with many other relatives who have loved ones buried in the area.

Tina, who has been at the cemetery since 10am, said: “There are council workers here and we have had many rows with them this morning.

“They are so heartless and do not care about what we want.

(L-R) Robert Potter, Tina Potter and Andrew Potter are unhappy with Welwyn Hatfield Council plans to remove flowers and tributes left on loved-ones graves including their mother, Jean Cutler's. Picture: DANNY LOO(L-R) Robert Potter, Tina Potter and Andrew Potter are unhappy with Welwyn Hatfield Council plans to remove flowers and tributes left on loved-ones graves including their mother, Jean Cutler's. Picture: DANNY LOO

“They should have consulted the families to see if it’s what we wanted.”

Tina’s son Billy Watts started a petition last month in a bid to prevent Welwyn Hatfield Council from removing the items from graves.

It received 445 signatures with many sharing their views.

One person wrote: “Surely the council can find other things to do rather than be disrespectful to families involved.”

Welwyn Hatfield Council are moving flowers and tributes off peoples graves in Hatfield Lawn Cemetery and families are upset. Picture: DANNY LOOWelwyn Hatfield Council are moving flowers and tributes off peoples graves in Hatfield Lawn Cemetery and families are upset. Picture: DANNY LOO

A spokeswoman for the borough council said: “As a Lawn Cemetery, the grounds have to be maintained as such.

“We must be fair to all users and the many families who chose the Lawn Cemetery as a resting place for their loved ones because of its distinctive character and appearance.

“We do everything we can to make people aware of where commemorative items can be placed on plinths, and often receive contact from loved ones requesting this type of work to ensure the lawn appearance is maintained to the highest of standards.

“We fully appreciate that this is a highly sensitive situation, and would welcome anyone with concerns to get in touch to discuss them more fully.”

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