Preston Council chiefs to debate controversial cemetery rules

Patricia Varty giving the petition to deputy leader  of Preston Council John Swindells and Coun Jonathan Saksena
Patricia Varty giving the petition to deputy leader of Preston Council John Swindells and Coun Jonathan Saksena
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Town Hall bosses are due to debate controversial rules around graves in Preston Cemetery, after thousands of people signed a petition.

Warning notices were issued by Preston Council in August, to say items placed outside a certain area on graves would need to be moved, or could be taken away.

Council chiefs later announced they would halt threatened enforcement action after families reacted with anger, to allow for a period of consultation with relatives.

Now a petition, run both online and on paper, has been submitted with a total of more than 4,500 signatures, and the council is required to debate it and consider how to respond to it.

The petition was organised and submitted by Patricia Varty, whose mother Rose Mary Donnelly is buried in the cemetery. She said: “It forces them to do something and gives us more of a voice.

“And it makes them aware that we are not going away.”

The petition said: “We the undersigned petition the council to consult more openly with the public in regards to the current cemetery rules and regulations. We would like to be allowed more flexibility in regards to how we maintain the graves of our loved ones.

“In the aftermath of a routine survey of the cemetery many people have received letters informing them that memorials they have erected including items like plants, statues and more will be removed within 28 days.

“We would like the council to be more considerate and flexible as we feel these rules and guidelines are not overly specific.”

Mrs Varty will be able to present her concerns to the council, and members will then debate the petition and decide how to respond.