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Fury as St Austell cemetery memorials taped off by council

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: April 17, 2013

  • REPAIRS REQUIRED: Some of the cordoned-off headstones in the cemetery on Eastbourne Road, St Austell.

  • A memorial stability test sign on one of the cordoned headstones in the cemetery on Eastbourne Road. BOTL20130413B-001_C

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A DAUGHTER says she is shocked and outraged at Cornwall Council's insensitive approach to health and safety at a St Austell cemetery.

Pauline Pragnell, 58, visited her father's memorial at Eastbourne Road Cemetery to find it had been cordoned off and a notice pinned to a post informing his family it was unsafe.

Mrs Pragnell said the note from CORMAC – Cornwall Council's contractor – said it had carried out tests on the memorial to her father Preston Thomas Lobb and it was found to be unstable. The notice then directed the family to make the remedial works.

Mrs Pragnell, who lives close to the cemetery, said: "We are responsible for making sure these gravestones are safe? I have never heard of anything like it before."

She said her father's grave was not alone and it appeared CORMAC was systematically working through the cemetery.

"There are posts surrounding the graves with notices attached them. I would have thought they could have gone about it more sensitively, perhaps it might have been better if they had approached the newspaper first to tell people of their plans."

Her father's memorial is only four years old.

"It is on Cornwall Council land so why can't they maintain it? Why can't they put right what's wrong? I feel they could have been more tactful than sticking stakes in the ground, roping off the memorials and sticking up signs."

She added: "What do they expect us to do, start digging up the graves and putting them straight?"

A council spokesman said it was carrying out tests on the stability of its memorials in all council-managed cemeteries and had put up notices informing members of the public of this.

She said: "Under the Health and Safety at Work Act and Public Liability Act, the council has a duty to ensure memorials are safe – headstones which fail our stability tests will either be laid on the ground or taped off."

The spokesman said they apologised for "the distress that may have been caused" but responsibility for safety and subsequent repairs rested with the registered owner.

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