Following a petition to the full Council, a public meeting was held on 10th August 2009 about the maintenance of the cemetery.
Bereavement Services staff attended, with Councillors Ibrar Hussain and Shaffaq Mohammed, cabinet member for the environment.
About 20 grave owners attended the meeting and expressed their anger and frustration at the poor state of the cemetery. One grave owner said,
“It’s like a battleground. Gravestones are littered all over and side stones are just piled up.”
One grave owner complained how her family headstone had been laid down without any notice given and another, Cheryl Smith, said,
“I don’t think the cemetery has been maintained effectively. Headstones should not be removed as people come a long way to see them – even as far as Australia. They are an important part of our heritage. A lot of damage is done by lawn-mowers; they used to use strimmers.”
Residents defended the cemetery’s importance as a green space and a heritage site. One resident asked Bereavement Services not to cut any more trees down.
Bereavement Services have been doing extensive clearance work at the top of the cemetery in recent months, cutting back trees and shrubs, removing side-stones and re-setting some fallen headstones.
However, with no plan for discussion, the meeting descended into angry exchanges and the Messenger challenged the Council about why no plan had been brought to the meeting. They said they had a plan but it was not written down. This did nothing to encourage confidence.
Burngreave Cemetery Plan
Since the meeting, a plan has been produced by Bereavement Services for the Community Assembly meeting on 24th September 2009, including an outline of work will be done and when. It can be downloaded below.