Feedback sought on memorial proposals in Preston

Patricia Varty hands in the petition to Couns Swindells and Saksena
Patricia Varty hands in the petition to Couns Swindells and Saksena

A public consultation will be launched next week after council bosses faced a backlash over new rules regarding grave memorials.

Warning notices were issued by the town hall last year at Preston Cemetery, informing residents items placed outside a certain area would need to be moved, or could be taken away.

The controversial move triggered a petition - which received 4,500 signatures - calling for “more flexibility in regards to how we maintain the graves of our loved ones.”

The council said it would suspend enforcement action while a review took place.

Coun Robert Boswell, Cabinet Member for Community and Environment said: “There is not an easy solution, because not all residents and users of the cemetery have the same wishes.

“This consultation is the opportunity for everyone to have their say, and we welcome that feedback.”

Residents will be asked to give feedback on four proposals.

They include details on where memorials can be placed around graves and what happens if deed holders do not follow the guidelines.

The council said new regulations were required because “unauthorised kerbs, fencing and memorials” can cause problems with grass-cutting and maintenance, costing the cash-strapped local authority £60,000.

The consultation will be available on the council’s website for eight weeks from September 11.

Patricia Varty, chair of the friends of Preston cemetery group, welcomed the consultation.

She said: “This is very important and it means a lot. Not just for us but for generations to come. The more people who know about this the better, we have to fight for as much as we can get.”

A meeting has been organised to discuss the proposals on September 15 from 7pm at the Mary Magdalene Church Hall on Ribbleton Avenue.