An update on the Burial Service and maintenance of the cemeteries
Agenda item 4
Burial Service and COVID-19 –
We have received further guidance from the Institute of Cemetery & Cremation Management. During the 5th Nov lockdown funerals can continue with up to a maximum of 30 people and it is advised that only close family and friends attend. Linked ceremonial events such as the interment of ashes can also continue, but will be subject to a maximum of 15 people. Anyone working is not included in numbers. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble. The cemetery and open spaces staff have been updated with this information and will continue to be at work during this lockdown.
Highbridge Cemetery Water leak – Update from the last meeting. The tarmac is still to be done. When the contractors are on site it was agreed to have the main path tarmacked at the same time.
Agenda item 5
Highbridge Cemetery Footpath – Update from last meeting. You will see from the attached quote from Bell, a map showing the area they intend to tarmac. This company has provided a cheaper price than that considered at the last meeting and are charging very little more for another 100 sq mtrs. £6,162. This includes from the gate at Fairford Road to the end of the central path. At the last meeting minute no. 14/20/BC members required clarification of the intended areas to have tarmac. See also attached photos.
From the photos you will see that two benches, bin storage have been raised and cemented and the kerbing has continued to the black gate, in readiness for the whole area to be tarmacked. The kerbing completion costs were £5,546
Recommendation – for the meeting to agree to have the path tarmacked from Fairford Road to the end of the central path. There are sufficient funds in Ear Marked Reserves being £78,518 for the provision of paths, £12,000 of which was transferred in from Highbridge ERM at 31/10/20
Highbridge Cemetery replacement gate – see photos
The concrete post is breaking up and the gate has holes in it. It is in excess of 40 years old, it is very heavy, hence the concrete wheel channel. The replacement – a galvanised gate should be done before the tarmac.
Elm trees at Brent Road cemetery
I have asked for clarification from the Sedgemoor Landscape Officer and the reply was that the Elm trees could be be left in the hedgerows, but they may blow over in a high wind. Many of the Elms that are in the hedgerow are fairly small slight trees and would pose no danger if blown over. The other advice was that it would be best to coppice them down and they may regenerate from the base.
I am going to instruct a local tree surgeon to take a look and provide a quote for the Elm trees on the edge of the hedgerow which may possibly be a danger if blown down. I will also ask him if there are any alive enough to have coppiced.
Agenda item 6
I am currently looking at the possibility of hiring in a digger for graves. We currently use a contractor who is 100% reliable, but it may not be best value. I will follow the tender process and draw up a specification to be followed. If it does produce a positive outcome and reduce costs are members in agreement to this change? An extraordinary meeting could be called. If so the budget figure will be altered in readiness for the final budget meeting on 25th January 2021
I have received information and prices for the replacement of CCTV at Brent Road from a local contractor. It might be a good idea to have CCTV also installed at Highbridge cemetery as there has been quite a frequent occurrence of antisocial behaviour as previously reported. As per our Financial Regulations, a specification and tendering process would have to take place.
Agenda item 8
Ear Marked Reserves
These reserves are a means of building up funds to meet known or predicted requirements but the levels should be reviewed to ensure the amounts set aside
are a realistic estimate based on sound rationale.
The report supplied shows under codes 4994 – Cem Provision for paths £78,518 and 4995 BR Construction Costs. These are set aside for the construction of the cemetery extension. From historical facts based on the cost of building Brent Road cemetery in the late 1990’s a Public Works Loan will also be required in the future, even if the Town Council continues to add to these EMR’s on an annual basis. Therefore, they are not unreasonable to be held.
On Cllr Allen’s request a thank you gift of flowers was sent to the volunteer who stoically spent a year inputting over 11,000 burial records.
Agenda item 10.1
Fees and Charges
Each year when setting the budget, the committee review the fees and charges to see if there should be any changes in the fees for the following year.
Last year there was a large increase for burials because the digging fees had risen significantly. Both interment and memorial fees increased last year by over 5%. This year has been a very difficult time for our residents both physically, mentally and financially therefore I suggest that the fees and charges are not increased for 2021/22
Report author: Lorna Williams – Deputy Town Clerk
Report Date: 2nd November 2020