Cemetery Committee meeting September 23rd 2013 – Minutes

PONTELAND TOWN COUNCIL

CEMETERY COMMITTEE

23 September 2013

Councillor P Cowey (Chairman)

Present – Councillors Mrs C Caisley, Mrs C Greenwell, R Punton, R G Ramsay and C Rawlings

1.         Apologies for Absence

There were no apologies for absence.

2.         Minutes of last meetings

Copies of the minutes of the last meetings held on 1 and 11 July had been circulated.

3.         Matters Arising

There were no matters arising.

4.         Memorial Seats

Copies of reports relating to the above, deferred from the 1 July meeting had been circulated.

The report included a comprehensive survey of all seats within the Cemetery and recommendations relating to be replacement or refurbishment.

Councillor Ramsay was thanked for all of his efforts in producing these reports.

The Clerk reported on charges set by NCC for memorial seats and trees.

It was felt that the residents fee should be £540 and the non residents fee be £640.

RESOLVED –

(i)         The replacement and refurbishment of seats as detailed within the report be carried out this year at an estimated cost of £4000 subject to Council approval of this sum.

(ii)        The seat policy, standard layout and maintenance and inspection regime

as detailed be adopted.

(iii)       The issue relating to general guidance for displays associated with seats

be deferred to a future meeting.

(iv)       The allocation of spaces shown on the map in appendix 6 be agreed.

(v)        The suggestion relating to fees for installation of seats as set out above

be agreed.

5.         Memorial Trees

A report relating to the above had been circulated.

It was proposed that the Council’s tree specialist be asked to carry out a survey of the various trees, marked and unmarked in the Cemetery and hedges in order to compile an appropriate maintenance regime.  It was also suggested that his advice on suitable species should be sought as it was felt that some of the trees on the NCC list were too large.

A suggested tree policy for the Cemetery was also circulated and this was the same as that adopted for the Park.

The Committee also needed to confirm its policy on how donor trees are to be marked and how records are to be kept.  The Clerk reported that she had recently ordered 10 concrete memorial stumps to be held in stock.  This was what was currently used in the Cemetery.  Plaques could be added as and when required.

RESOLVED –

(i)         Approve the appointment of the Council’s Tree Specialist, Simon Brough, to carry out a survey of trees and hedges within the Cemetery.

(ii)        The Tree Specialist be asked to provide advice as to suitable tree types

for donor trees.

(iii)       The policy as outlined for donor trees be approved.

(iv)       The method of marking trees be agreed and that the issue of how records

should be kept be deferred to a future meeting.

6.         Charges for Memorial Seats and Trees

The Committee suggested the following charges for Memorial Seats and Trees:

Seats

Resident of Civil Parish – £540

Non Resident – £640

Trees

Resident of Civil Parish – £200

Non resident – £240

7.         Contracts relating to the Cemetery

A report relating to various quotes sought for works at the Cemetery had been circulated.

In relation to the contract for Fencing, Scrubland clearance and hedge removal, three quotes had been sought and quotes were received as follows:

Northumbrian Turf and Landscaping – £4430

AA Landscapes – £4630

In relation to the annual tree and hedge cutting contract, prices had been received as follows:

Northumbrian Turf and Landscaping – £800

AA Landscapes – £1200

Marshalls Tree Surgeons – £2000

The lowest quotation of £800 from Northumbrian Turf and Landscaping had been agreed under delegated powers.

RESOLVED –

(i)         The awarding of the contract in relation to the annual tree and hedge cutting contract to the lowest bid received be noted.

(ii)        Recommend to Council that the lowest quote of £4430 be accepted in respect of the fencing, scrubland clearance and hedge removal.  (See

copy of brief specification attached).

8.         Update re Housekeeping Report

Councillors were reminded that a housekeeping report had been considered at the meeting held on 1 July.  An update was given as follows:

(i)         Litter and Grave, Seats decoration

There was still an issue with decorations on seats and graves being left for too long.

Councillors were asked to remove anything of this nature when they inspected the cemetery as long as the decorations were dead or unsuitable.

(ii)        Flower beds on grave spaces

A list of graves where this was an issue had been supplied by NCC.  It was agreed that this needed to be handled with sensitivity.  NCC had agreed to enforce this condition with undertakers and operatives however, this was something that often occurred after the burial.

(iii)       Regular inspections

The Committee was reminded that it had been agreed to have quarterly inspections with NCC.

(iv)       Grass

The grass edges had still not been trimmed.  This would be followed up with NCC.

(v)        Shelter cleaning

The shelter had been cleaned however the painting works and replacement barge board had not been carried out and would be followed up.  The removal of leaves from the shelter was required.

(vi)       Rubbish bins

The bins had been moved.

(vii)      Tilted Gravestones

NCC had reported that there were 51 tilted gravestones.  These would need to be rectified over the next two to three years.

(viii)     Paths

A programme of resurfacing of paths would be prepared.  The use of a new form of epoxy resin was being investigated.

9.         Grass Cutting 2014-15

It was suggested that prices should be obtained for the grass cutting for 2014-15 in order to obtain a comparison with NCC.

RESOLVED – Prices be obtained for grass cutting in the Cemetery for 2014-15 from suitable companies.

10.       Any other business

(i)         Water supply and tap

Councillor Mrs Caisley stated that she had received comments that the tap

was too low for elderly and some disabled users.  This would be examined

and rectified if necessary.

The Clerk was asked to find out if there was a stop cock for the tap and

whether lagging for the winter was required.

(ii)        Service Level Agreement (SLA)

In response to a query from Councillor Rawlings it was stated that

the SLA covered the period up to 31 March 2014.

(iii)       Income

It was stated that the income had still not been paid to the Town

Council.  The Clerk was dealing with this matter.

(iv)       Muslim Burials

It was reported that an approach had been made to NCC again re

the possibility of having Muslim burials at the Cemetery.

The main issues were that it would be difficult for NCC to meet

the requirements for a Muslim burial.  They would not guarantee to

offer a burial within 24 hours.  There was also an issue with concrete

liners.  The head of the Muslim Community had requested a meeting

with the Town Council.

RESOLVED –  A meeting be arranged with the head of the Muslim community

as requested attended by the Chairman and Vice Chairman of this Committee

and representatives from NCC.

11.       Date of next meeting

A meeting was required with NCC and the Clerk was asked to obtain some

suitable dates.

IT WAS RESOLVED THAT UNDER THE PUBLIC BODIES (ADMISSION TO MEETINGS) ACT 1960 THAT THE PRESS AND PUBLIC BE EXCLUDED FOR THE FOLLOWING ITEM ON THE GROUNDS OF THE CONFIDENTIAL NATURE OF THE BUSINESS TO BE TRANSACTED.

12.       Cemetery Extension

Some analysis of capacity had been carried out.

The County Council had confirmed that planning permission would be sought for the extension and they strongly advised that pre-application discussions took place on this issue.

It was suggested that an approach should perhaps be made to the landowners.

RESOLVED – The information be received and discussed at a future meeting.