Grave concern over Kenilworth cemetery work

Large pieces of rubble near the graves of Stephen Mackay's family
Large pieces of rubble near the graves of Stephen Mackay's family
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Council workers have been accused by some Kenilworth residents of being heavy-handed with headstones and leaving some lying down during a safety survey of Oaks Road Cemetery.

Warwick District Council has been surveying every headstone in the cemetery, with unsafe ones marked with tape before being repaired.

A headstone with tape around it due to be repaired

A headstone with tape around it due to be repaired

Workers at the site on Tuesday January 31 insisted they were careful with all headstones, and any that are laid flat are done so gently.

But Stephen Mackay, of St Nicholas Avenue, who visits the cemetery to visit five graves of his family, believed the work was ‘dreadful’.

He accused the workers of leaving rubble on the graves he visits and felt the health and safety survey was unnecessary in the first place.

He added: “I think they shouldn’t be doing it at all. When your gravestone is just a normal one, it should stay in that position.

“Imagine someone coming all the way down from Scotland to find their grave in pieces - it’s unbelievable really.”

A spokesman for Warwick District Council said: “The work currently being undertaken at Kenilworth Cemetery is part of the council’s annual programme of health and safety works.

“We have a team of professional memorial masons on site who are required to comply with strict standards which have been implemented by the council and are in line with the monumental masonry trade association and British standards.

“Some of the older memorials in our cemeteries were fitted with only cement holding them together and over time the weather has taken its toll leaving the memorial unsafe. As this can pose a risk for families and the public it makes it necessary for repairs to be undertaken.

“We ensure this work is done with as much care and sensitivity as possible whilst maintaining the duty of care we have for our visitors and staff.

“Most repairs will take place on the same day as an inspection. Headstones are only left lying down in circumstances where it would be unsafe to leave them in an upright position, such as overnight or over a weekend, until the mason can return to complete the repair.”