Cemetery bosses are looking to ban grieving families from placing ‘excessive’ decorations on graves and memorials under new regulations.
If approved Solihull Council’s cemetery regulations will not allow any decorative items, including ornaments, toys and wind chimes to be placed on the grassed area of the grave. Families and visitors will also be banned from cutting the grass around their loved ones’ graves.
Council bosses say the rules, which have always been in place, need to be properly enforced following ‘increasing feedback’ from families about excessive decorations on some graves and memorials.
Julie Handford, whose son Mark was tragically killed in a digger accident in 2009 aged just 22, visits her son’s grave in Widney Manor Cemetery every day.
She said: “I think that’s (the proposal) terrible. I will be really upset if they do that.
“It’s Mark’s birthday next month and I’ll be taking up little gifts for him. That’s all you can do for them. I think round your grave, if you’re not encroaching on the surrounding grass you should be able to do what you want.
“It’s a massive part of your life to be able to go up to the cemetery and take little gifts and things. It’s like an extended part of your home.
“It will be awful and people will be really upset.
“I suppose the council think it’s tacky or whatever but it’s their choice.
“I think a lot of people will be against it, there will be uproar.”
Coun Linda Brown (Independent Ratepayers and Residents Association, Blythe) has welcomed the move, saying some of the items placed on graves look ‘tacky.’
“It [the decoration of graves] can get a bit out of hand and I think a line does have to be drawn,” Coun Brown said.
“I understand people need to grieve and I don’t want to upset people but some of the items, like all of the toys people put on there, do take up a lot of room.
“It is right that this is controlled to a degree. It is also right to allow the items to stay there at the beginning and then remove them a few weeks later.”
The decorative items, which also include fences, vases, planters and lanterns can only be placed on the slabs or gravel surrounding the head of the grave.
Coun Chris Williams (Green, Chelmsley Wood) added: “I have a constituent who has been struggling to access his wife’s grave due to large memorials blocking his access but at the same time, everyone needs space to grieve and remember so we need to strike the right balance.”
Solihull Council is currently consulting on the plans.
A council spokeswoman said: “For many years the council has had regulations in place designed to allow bereaved families the opportunity to decorate their family grave or memorial.
“This should be carried out in a way which does not prevent other families from accessing their family graves and memorials, or the grounds being maintained to the required standards.”
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