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Nearly 200 high-risk gravestones set to be laid down

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Nearly 200 high-risk gravestones are set to be laid down in West Norfolk cemeteries.Following a series of borough council inspections last year, 172 of the memorials have been assessed as high-risk – and the authority is now seeking information on how much it will cost to put them down safely.

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

The council is also responsible for the maintenance and safety of a number of closed churchyards in the area where the gravestones will be laid down.These are covered by the Diocese of Norwich and the Diocese of Ely.

Hardwick Road Cemetery was one those inspected by West Norfolk Council last year. Picture: Google Maps

“At that time we said we would give grave owners a period of time to undertake remedial works and we made efforts to identify and contact them.“During this period a number of grave owners arranged for remedial works to be undertaken. “The council has subsequently reassessed the gravestones in these cemeteries and established that there are 172 high-risk memorials remaining that should be laid down. (Lower-risk memorials will be monitored by qualified staff until the next formal round of testing in 2028 as prescribed by the Local Government Ombudsman.)“Quotations are now being sought for this work to be carried out in the near future.“It should be noted that the council does not hold burial records for the closed Church of England burial sites so its ability to reach out to the affected families is limited to the notices on graves and support from the church teams.“The council is working with the Diocese to agree next steps for these closed churchyards. Permission for remedial works in closed churchyards can only be granted by the Diocese so families/stonemasons should seek advice from the relevant Diocesan Office (Norwich or Ely) before proceeding with any work.” The closed churchyards the borough council is responsible for include the following:Diocese of Norwich: – All Saints – King’s Lynn- Minster – King’s Lynn – St Faith’s – King’s Lynn- St James’ Burial Ground – Kings Lynn – St John’s – King’s Lynn – St Nicholas’ – King’s Lynn- St Peter’s – West Lynn- All Saints – North WoottonDiocese of Ely:– St Edmund’s – Downham Market- All Saints – Hilgay- St Mary Magdalen – Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalen- St Clements – Outwell- St Mary’s – Southery- St Peter’s – Upwell- Terrington St Clement

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