Cemetery Minutes Sep 15

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

CEMETERY COMMITTEE

7September 2015

Councillor C Rawlings (Chairman)

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

 

  1. Apologies for Absence

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

 

  1. Minutes of last meeting

Copies of the minutes of the last meeting held on 1 June 2015 had been circulated.

 

  1. Matters Arising

(i)         Item 3 (6 ii) – Matters Arising

The Clerk was asked to follow up the issue of a utilities search with the Council’s Solicitor.

(ii)        Item 4 – Decoration on graves

There was considerable debate on this item.

The Clerk stated that she had not yet been able to arrange a meeting with NCC officers from the south east of the county to discuss their experience of dealing with this difficult issue.

It was generally agreed that some action needed to be taken but that this would in all probability have to be carried out over a period of time.

It had been mentioned at the June meeting about having an area at the top of the graves to place items on.

The Clerk agreed to come back to a future meeting with proposals of how to deal with this issue.

 

RESOLVED – It was agreed to defer consideration of this issue pending the Clerk visiting NCC officers in the south east who had previous experience of this type of issue.

A report would be submitted to a future meeting on possible actions that could be taken.

(iii)       Item 6(ii) Update of survey map

A cost of £450 had been received from Hedley Design to carry out this work.

The Committee endorsed this expenditure.

(iv)       Item 10(ii) Any other business – Grass Cutting

It was reported that a site meeting had been held with NCC and the reasons why they could not cut the grass at a higher frequency had been explained and were outlined to the Committee.

 

  1. Request received re placement of head stone

A report had been circulated to the Committee in relation to a request from a user of the cemetery regarding two plots purchased side by side. The applicant had requested having one head stone only that ‘straddled’ both graves, i.e. it would be in the middle of the two plots.  A sketch diagram provided by the applicant had also been circulated.

 

As this was the first request of its kind it was necessary to bring the matter before the Committee for a decision.

 

RESOLVED – The request be approved but that future applications would be dealt with on their merits.

 

  1. Landscaping Proposals

 

The Committee was reminded that the Landscape Architect had provided some proposals for the Cemetery and these had been made available to all Councillors for comment.

 

The various comments received were set out in a report with different colours denoting comments from various Councillors.

 

The Committee looked at the comments received in detail and agreed the following items should be included in the production of a master plan for the Cemetery.

 

Entrance

The Committee agreed with the proposals for the entrance gates with the name of the Cemetery included.

There was some discussion regarding locking the Cemetery and it was agreed that this would be left with the Clerk to see if resources could be found to facilitate this idea.

 

Memorial Wall

As a result of various discussions on this matter it was agreed that there should be two memorial walls, one in the area set out in the proposals in respect of woodland burials and one in the contemplative garden area. It was agreed that plaques would be affixed to the wall for which a fee would be charged and that those people who already had a headstone would not be able to purchase a plaque for the walls.

Waiting Area

There was some discussion regarding a memorial book and whether this would be used and where it would be located. This required further discussion as to the type of book (digital etc) and whether it was necessary.  A suggestion was made regarding displaying a list of those who had died on a weekly basis in the waiting area.

The Committee generally agreed with the signage and it was suggested that this should be in Perspex to soften the effect.

It was suggested that a long term project may be to have toilet facilities at the side of the shelter and space would have to be left for this facility.

It would also be desirable to have the roof tiles to match those proposed for the woodland area. This may also be a long term proposal.

It was generally agreed that the stone of the shelter was in keeping with the Cemetery and some refurbishment of soffits etc could be carried out.

Muslim Area

It was suggested that the Muslim area should perhaps be screened from the woodland area and this was agreed.

Woodland area

A suggestion was made to use part of the woodland area to provide additional burial space.

The background to this matter was discussed and it was stated that the area was very wet and at the most only single depth burials could take place in this area.

The processes followed for a woodland burial were outlined.

It was suggested that small markers sunk into the ground onto a small stone would be suitable for the woodland area and this was agreed by the Committee

Proposed contemplative garden area

It was envisaged that this would be an area where ashes could be scattered. The Clerk outlined the current practice for scattering of ashes which had to be supervised.

The Committee all agreed that this was a good idea although the size of it may have to be increased

The purpose of the columbaria area was explained.  This would provide another alternative for cremated remains.  It was suggested that a gap should be left in between each section to allow another section to be added at a later date to provide a continuous wall effect.

 

It was agreed that these suggestions should be forwarded to the Landscape Architect who had allowed for a design iteration as part of stage one. This would complete Stage one of his fee proposal.

The Committee would need to agree stage two of his proposal to draw up detailed design including outline specifications of some materials for presentation to the Council.

It was envisaged that he would eventually draw up the master plan for the Cemetery and provide some costing for the Council to agree.

It was envisaged that this may be a phased programme that would take a number of years to implement.

 

RESOLVED – That the suggestion outlined above be agreed and the various items agreed be fed back to the Landscape Architect who would incorporate them into his design proposals.

 

 

 

 

  1. Any other business

(i)         Letter to NCC re double taxation

In response to a query the Committee was informed that a letter of thanks had been sent to the County Council..

 

  1. Date of next meeting

To be agreed.