Pursuant to Article 3 of the Local Authority Cemetery Order 1977, Health and Safety Act 1974, and Occupiers Liability Act 1957, we, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, have a statutory duty to ensure that cemetery visitors and staff are safe and not subject to the risk of injury when in the cemeteries.
A safety survey of the memorials in all of the borough's cemeteries is to be carried out as part of the Council’s approved Cemeteries Memorial Safety Programme and on-going Health and Safety Review of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Cemeteries.
Testing equipment will only be used if movement is felt during the hand test but the memorial does not immediately fall. If the memorial would continue to fall under pressure then equipment may be used to test the memorials safety.
Any memorials found to be unstable on the day of inspection will be temporarily secured with a memorial support, laid down flat or cordoned off. A structural engineer will assess the older and larger memorials.
If a memorial is found to be unstable then families can choose to either arrange and pay for the repairs to be carried out by an approved memorial mason themselves, or to have the memorial lowered upright by one-third into the ground by Council staff, free of charge.
The larger type memorials and kerb sets will be dealt with on an individual basis.
The cemeteries will be tested in a number of phases and following each phase any affected grave owner(s) will be written to, explaining that their memorial has been found to be unsafe and the options available to them. They will then have a period of two weeks within which to contact Keele Cemetery Office to confirm their arrangements for repair; either through a memorial mason or the Council.
We ask that all grave owner(s) please contact Keele Cemetery Office to ensure that we have your up-to-date contact details.
Telephone: 01782 616379
We recognise that this is a sensitive issue and urge grave owners to contact the Bereavement Services Team for any extra information and to minimise any distress.
Last updated 25 March 2020