Widower's concern over state of Stonefall

A KNARESBOROUGH man has expressed concerns about the state of Stonefall Cemetery in Harrogate.

Mr Neville Osborn wants to alert relatives of those interred in Section M to the lack of progress being made to reinstate and grass the area.

The area is covered in what Mr Osborn describes as ‘an ugly and dirty thick layer of grey power station fly ash’.

Mr Osborn’s late wife, Brenda, was interred at the cemetery in November 2005 and he was assured the grassing over of the area was scheduled for later in 2006.

Last November, Mr Osborn contacted the cemetery and was advised the project was programmed for spring this year.

Mr Osborn said: “I received a phone call in April from Bereavement Services at Harrogate Borough Council stating the work could not be undertaken because of the site condition and the need for more graves to be activated. No date was given for re-programming the project.

“This delay is affecting the relatives of the deceased. When visiting a cemetery the bereaved expect to find a peaceful, serene environment in pristine condition.

“Layers of power station fly ash spread over their loved ones’ graves can only detract from such a desirable scene.”

Mr Philip Andrew, Bereavement Services Manager for Harrogate Borough Council, told Mr Osborn the ashed grave sections had the temporary surface laid on them to enable better drainage and access for visitors due to water surface problems, especially during the winter.

The intention was to re-turf the section when all the graves were filled.

Mr Andrew said: “Unfortunately, as far as the full burial section is concerned, the graves have taken longer to fill than was considered, and this has caused some delay on re-turfing these areas.

“We expect to fill the remaining vacant graves over the summer period, with the hope of re-turfing the ash sections by September 2007.”

Mr Andrew appreciated Mr Osborn’s concern about the appearance of the ash but wanted to assure him these sections will be restored to match the very high standard of headstones lovingly erected there.

“I am sorry for this delay but it is hoped when the turfing operation does take place it will be able to thrive as a result of reduced disturbance and environmental influences.”

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