Safety checks at area’s cemeteries

Rye Cemetery
Rye Cemetery

Memorial headstones in Rother will soon be subject to a series of inspections – to ensure the district’s cemeteries remain safe places to visit and work in.

Later this month, Rother District Council staff will begin routine testing of memorials in Bexhill and Rye to identify any headstones which may be unsafe.

Any headstone found to be at risk of falling will have a notice placed on it while the council will contact the registered owner to ask them to arrange repairs.

Memorials which are deemed to pose an immediate danger will be supported where possible, or may need to be laid down on the ground in some cases.

Cllr Sally-Ann Hart, Rother District Council cabinet member for public realm, culture and tourism, said: “We understand that this is a sensitive matter concerning bereaved families, and apologise for any inconvenience caused, but we have a duty to ensure our cemeteries are safe for the public and our workers.

“In the majority of cases, memorials will be safe but where memorials are potentially dangerous, it’s the owner’s duty to arrange for repairs to be carried out by a registered stonemason.

“In these cases, we will write to the last known address for the headstone owner to ask them to do this and will also place a notice to this effect on the memorial.

“People should not be concerned when they see our workers carrying out these tests, which are a routine part of our cemetery maintenance.”

Tests are carried out simply by applying pressure to a headstone to see if it moves, while in some cases a calibrated instrument will be used to test a memorial’s stability. Memorial owners can check the council has their correct contact details on record by calling 01424 787523 or emailing memorialinspections@rother.gov.uk.