Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us Click here for details »
Make grave smaller or we'll remove it
A MAN is fuming after council bosses threatened to remove his parents-in-law’s gravestone plinth because it is four inches too long.
To make matters worse, Terry Simmons, the cemetery supervisor at Basildon Council, delivered the news in a letter addressed to Arthur Newell’s wife Sylvia, who died in February.
Mr Newell’s father-in-law, Jack Bloom, was laid to rest at Pitsea Cemetery, in Church Road, Bowers Gifford, in March 1993.
Jack’s wife, Rose, was buried there in August 2004.
They have a grave with a black marble headstone laid on a white plinth, which is 30 inches wide by 40 inches long, but the council wants to cut it back.
Mr Newell of Dordells, Lee Chapel North, said: “To add insult to injury, the letter was addressed to my wife, Sylvia, who died in February.
“After looking after my wife, who had cancer, for the last two years, I’m still getting over that, so to get this in the post was a real shock.
“That grave has been there for 20 years. Haven’t they got better things to spend taxpayers’ money on than this?”
The letter from the council tells Mr Newell the plinth should be 30 inches wide by 36 inches long and states he has a month to make it smaller or the council will remove it.
Mr Newell added: “There are some graves which are really big and really over the top. Their grave is tasteful and discreet and has always been looked after.
“I can’t see what they are going to gain with four inches. It’s not like they will be able to lay someone next to my parents-in-law.”
He has refused to carry out any alterations to the grave, which he said could cost thousands as the headstone would need to be removed and relaid once the plinth had been reduced in size.
He said: “I absolutely will not do it. It’s the principle of it. It’s a disgrace.”
A spokesman for Basildon Council said it had been writing to people about oversized graves and gardens at the cemetery for the past two years after several complaints.
He added: “While the council understands the sensitivities around this subject, it also has to ensure cemetery regulations are adhered to in the interests of fairness and equality to everybody.
“We are currently writing to everyone whose garden area exceeds the permitted size and requesting their co-operation in reducing them.”
Comments are closed on this article.