To consider the report of the Director of Service Delivery (copy enclosed).
The Committee considered the report of the Director of Service Delivery seeking Member’s consideration of matters as part of the annual review of the Memorials in Cemeteries, Parks and Open Spaces Policy. An updated Policy was attached at Appendix C to the report.
The report highlighted some areas of the current policy where it was felt amendment / clarification was required.
The Chairman moved the recommendations set out in the report, noting that this was a recommendation to the Council. This was duly seconded.
Councillor R G Boyce proposed that this item of business be deferred to the next meeting of this Committee to allow consultation with the local Friends’ groups (linked with the cemeteries). He also asked for an update on the status of the Council’s Friends’ groups in the District, whether they still existed, which were operating and how effective they were. This proposal was duly seconded.
In response to the proposal, the Director of Service Delivery advised that Officers could provide an update on Friends’ groups and other core groups and how these groups were an important part of the Council’s management plans. He confirmed that Officers would be happy to carry out the consultation proposed. The Cemeteries Officer explained how involvement with groups had been difficult during the pandemic and highlighted that the review was not proposing to take anything that anyone had away but to provide consistency and make it available to more people.
Members discussed the proposal and commented on the report. In response to comments made the following information was provided:
· The demand for benches in currently burial areas was high (the Council had a waiting list) and a part of this review Officers had considered options available for increasing the service provided without having the space for additional benches. The proposed changes to the scheme and suggested leasing of a plaque on a bench would make it available to more people.
· It was confirmed that the Council did plant trees in memorial and in response to a question regarding expanding this scheme Members were advised this could be looked into.
· Alternative options for memorials were raised and in response the Director of Service Delivery advised that Officers had been looking into alternatives and if Members agreed to defer this item of business a summary could be provided when Officers reported back.
The Chairman advised Members that they had to vote on the recommendations set out in the report as this was the first motion proposed and seconded. Councillor Boyce proposed an amendment to the recommendations that it be deferred for consultation. It was agreed that an additional recommendation be added to specify that a discussion with the Friends’ Groups of the cemeteries take place and the result of which be brought back to the next meeting of this Committee (3 February 2022).
RESOLVED that a discussion with the Friends’ Groups of the cemeteries take place and the result of which be brought back to the next meeting of this Committee (3 February 2022).