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More than 150 high risk gravestones to be laid down next week

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More than 150 gravestones which are at high risk of falling over are to be laid down by specialists from next week.This follows testing of memorials in West Norfolk Council’s operational cemeteries and various closed churchyards last year.During those inspections, 172 memorials assessed were deemed to be high-risk.

Tags informing gravestone owners of their ‘high risk’ nature were put in place last year

The borough council’s assistant director of operations and commercial services, Martin Chisholm, said: “We are obliged to check these memorials and, where necessary, to make them safe.“Where we have identified that a memorial is at risk of falling, we have made every effort to contact grave owners and we have given people time to undertake remedial works.“We now plan to lay down the remaining 172 high-risk memorials but I would like to assure people that it will be done in a careful and respectful manner.” Work to lay down these gravestones will start from next Monday (June 3).The lower-risk memorials will be monitored by the council’s qualified staff until the next round of formal testing, which is due to take place in 2028.A national standard is used to assess whether a gravestone is safe or not. The graves and memorials within cemeteries are purchased by individuals – usually family members of deceased persons – and they retain ownership of these.This means that if remedial work is required to make them safe, it is up to the owner to carry it out, although the council will provide help and advice with this process. The council conducted inspections in five cemeteries in the borough in May last year. In advance of doing this, a press release was issued and notices were put up in the cemeteries being inspected.Sites on Gayton Road and Hardwick Road in Lynn, Alexandra Road in Hunstanton, Police Road in Walpole St Andrew and Smeeth Road in Marshland St James were the ones checked.

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