Cemetery minutes 25th Feb 16



25 February 2016

Councillor C Rawlings (Chairman)

Present – Councillors Mrs C Caisley, P Cowey and R G Ramsay


  1. Apologies for Absence

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Mrs C Greenwell.


  1. Minutes of last meeting

Copies of the minutes of the last meeting held on 7 September 2015 had been circulated.


  1. Matters Arising

(i)         Item 3 (iii) – update of survey map

The Clerk showed the Committee the map that had been produced that was proving very useful.


(ii)        Work being carried out at Newcastle Airport

Councillor Mrs Caisley referred to the work being carried out at the Airport extending the car park. She stated that her understanding was that the company concerned had agreed to carry out some improvements to the Prestwick Road and the Cemetery entrance.  This would be investigated.


  1. Decoration on graves

A report was submitted relating to the above.

It was stated that the meeting with NCC had been cancelled and would need to be re-scheduled.

It had also been reported to the Clerk that the NCC operatives were experiencing problems with grass cutting and digging of graves due to the location of some of the ‘fixed’ decorations and also some of the trees and seats. It was suggested that a meeting should be held with the NCC operatives at the Cemetery and this would be arranged.

Reference was also made to some of the new headstones that had been installed. There were concerns that some of them may be bigger than regulations allowed.  Concern was also expressed about some of the designs although it was recognised that the current regulations did not cover that issue.

It was suggested that the NCC administration team should be asked to send through details of headstones to the Clerk for pre approval prior to consent being given by NCC.



(i)         The Clerk arrange a meeting with NCC officers as soon as possible to

            discuss possible solutions to the problem of decorations on graves.

(ii)        That a meeting be arranged with the NCC operatives at the Cemetery

            to discuss the various issues and concerns they have.

(iii)       Request that approvals for erection of headstones are pre-approved by         the Clerk prior to formal consent being granted and that any concerns

she may have be discussed with the Chairman of this Committee.


  1. Fees and Charges 2016-17

A report was presented to the Committee relating to the increase in fees and charges for 2016-17. A schedule of suggested charges was presented that represented an increase of around 2%.

An alternative schedule which rounded figures up to the nearest £5 (for figures of £100 or less and to the nearest £10 for sums of £200 or more) was also presented for consideration together with a number of queries.


Clarification of a number of points was required mainly relating to the costs involved for graves out of rotation. There were several items that were not applicable to Prestwick Cemetery and it was agreed that these would be deleted from the schedule.

The Clerk was asked to seek clarification as to whether the percentage charged for disinterment could be increased for non-residents.


The Committee agreed with the fees and charges set out in the alternative schedule that had been presented other than the suggestion in respect of memorial trees which should be £210 for residents and £250 for non residents plus the charge agreed for the post and plaque if required.


It was agreed that a revised copy of the fees and charges would be presented to the Council in March for approval. Following that the Clerk would send these to NCC for implementation and would also write out to the funeral directors.


RESOLVED – The Council be recommended to approve the attached schedule of fees and charges for 2016-17.


  1. Review of Cemetery Account

A copy of the Cemetery account for the current year to date had been circulated to Councillors together with a report by the Clerk which explained the account in more detail.


It was agreed that a full account would be presented to the Committee at the year- end once all transactions for the year had been made.


RESOLVED – The information be noted and that the year-end account be submitted to the Committee once all transactions had been completed for 2015-16.


  1. Suggestion for site visit to the Cemetery to review general appearance

Councillors agreed that it would be beneficial to have a site visit to the Cemetery as a Committee in the near future.


RESOLVED – Appropriate dates be submitted to members of the Committee and a site visit be arranged.


  1. Preparation of a data base for the Cemetery/Information re digital

            system and offer of demonstration of burial ground management


The Clerk had circulated details of a burial ground management system from Atlantic Geomatics who had asked to give a demonstration to the Cemetery Committee regarding the services they could provide.


The current records were held by the County Council and it was intended to visit the offices at the Hexham depot to view them. This was still to be arranged.


The Clerk was asked to obtain additional information on the Atlantic Geomatics system and if need be, arrange for a demonstration that members could attend if they wished to do so.  Councillor Cowey expressed his intention to be present.



(i)         Additional information be sought on the system being offered by

            Atlantic Geomatics and if a demonstration was arranged,

            members of the Cemetery Committee be given the opportunity to


(ii)        That a visit to the NCC depot to view the records for Prestwick

            Cemetery be arranged.


  1. Review of headstone stability options

Members were reminded that an offer that had been made to carry out testing of the stability of headstones that had not materialised.

It was suggested that consideration of this matter be deferred until after the training event that members were attending in Hexham on 27 April. There was a workshop relating to headstone stability that may be useful in determining future action to be taken.


RESOLVED – Consideration of this matter be deferred pending attendance at the training event on 27 April 2016.


  1. Award of three year tree maintenance contract

The Committee was reminded that the Council had recently awarded a contract for tree works to a contractor. As part of that contract a section was included for the Cemetery tree works.  The recommendation agreed by the Council proposed that this work should be awarded to the same contractor at a cost of £150 per year for three years however this required the approval of this Committee.


RESOLVED – That the contract for the Cemetery tree works be awarded to contractor A at a cost of £150 per year for three years.


  1. Update on landscaping proposals

The Committee was reminded that the proposals submitted by the Landscape Architect had been debated at the last meeting and the suggestions made at that meeting had been forwarded to him.

It had been agreed to proceed to stage two of his proposal to draw up a detailed design including outline specifications for some materials for presentation to the Council.

It had been hoped to have this information available for this meeting however it was suggested that this would be circulated to Councillors for comment once received.


RESOLVED – The information be circulated to Councillors for comment once received.


  1. Date of next meeting

The Committee agreed that there was a need to ensure they met at least quarterly. The Clerk would produce a schedule of meetings.  It was recognised that there may be a need to have additional meetings if the need arose.


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