Preston grave rules set for further scrutiny

Patricia Varty hands in a petition to councillors in 2017
Patricia Varty hands in a petition to councillors in 2017

Controversial proposals impacting on grave memorials at Preston Cemetery are set for further scrutiny despite getting the green light from council bosses.

The town hall plans to implement regulations limiting the area around graves where items can be left to 2ft 6ins.

Following a public consultation that suggested a majority of respondents wanted greater flexibility, the ruling cabinet approved the limit on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Cemetery group 'very upset' with decision to keep memorial rules
However, the decision is set to be called in by members of the opposition Conservative group and will return to the local authority’s scrutiny committee.

Chair of the Friends of Preston Cemetery group, Patricia Varty, said the issue was far from over and the report presented to cabinet detailing the consultation results and proposals was “flawed”.

She added: “There were a lot of upset people at the cabinet meeting when the vote was made. We will see what will happens.”

The council has previously said new regulations are required because “unauthorised kerbs, fencing and memorials” can cause problems with maintenance that cost £60k per year.

Speaking on Thursday, Coun Robert Boswell, deputy leader of Preston City Council said: “Last night cabinet made the difficult decision to maintain the current rules regarding grave memorialisation at Preston Cemetery.

“As to whether or not it will be called in, I cannot comment. However scrutiny is an important part of the democratic process and members are fully entitled to call decisions in if they feel it is necessary.”

Speaking to the Lancashire Post, opposition group leader Neil Cartwright, who is also chair of the scrutiny committee, said the decision would be called-in as concerns exist that the “council is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”