Briefing Note for councillors: An update on the Burial Service and maintenance of the cemeteries
Issued to: Burial Committee 23rd September 2020
Purpose of Report
To share an operational update on the burial service, grounds maintenance carried out over the period affected by CV-19
The number of both ashes and burial Interments has been low compared to last year. Since the last meeting on the 1st July there have been 7 interment of ashes and 4 burials. Time wise, this has allowed two Caretakers to support the pedestrianisation of the High St. They undertook a City of Guilds training course which included a Chapter 8 license that enabled them to deal with the necessary road closures / opening required in the High St. It is envisaged that more of the grounds staff will undertake this training to potentially develop the role.
Cemeteries remain exempt under the new restrictions however signage remains to remind people to 2m social distancing if not from within the same household.
Highbridge Cemetery Water leak – Update from the last meeting. We received a leakage notice requiring repair within 14 days. As this was an emergency repair the Financial Regulations (sect 11.a. i) allow a contractor to be appointed immediately. Nigel Haggett Builders were appointed. Unfortunately, the job uncovered some unplanned problems including a new connection and pipe working going into the toilet block. A mole and a generator was also required. See attached photos. The cost of this works will circa £2,400 not including the tarmac. The tarmacking is still to be done.
Highbridge Cemetery Footpath – Three years ago the central path had been repaired with new kerbing as it had been assessed as unsafe. Since this time the Committee has intentionally built up an earmarked reserve (EMR) to complete this path by having it tarmacked and the remaining section on the bend to have kerbing as this is now also dangerous and should be done for safety reasons. (see photos). This work is to be financed through ERM and covered by the Financial Regulations (sect 11.a.iv) Procedures as to contracts are laid down as follows:
- Every contract shall comply with these financial regulations, and no exceptions shall be made otherwise than in an emergency and provided that this regulation does not apply to contracts which relate to items (i) to (vi) below:
iv. for work to be executed or goods or materials to be supplied which constitute an extension of an existing contract by the council;
Whilst the tarmac is being laid to complete the water leak it will be cheaper to have
the footpath tarmacked at the same time. The cost of tarmac is approx. £20m3. I am
meeting Nigel Haggett on site on Friday 18th Sept to discuss the areas. This will be
shared with members at the site meeting on Wednesday 24th.
From the start of this financial year the individual cost centre codes for each cemetery have been amalgamated together. This enables the approach to be more flexible by having one lump sum. The ERM for the provision of paths is £78,518. The bulk of this amount was earmarked for Brent Road, however Highbridge cemetery transferred over £12,000 to this at 31/3/2020
Elm trees at Brent Road cemetery
The Elm trees have been dying off at an alarming rate. I sought advice from Janette Burton who is the Landscape officer at Segemoor. See attached e-mail response.
Cllrs Chris Allen & Colette Winfield and I visited the cemetery end the end of August to have a look at these Elm trees. We counted at least 18 trees that were either dead or nearly dead. (see photos). As most of these Elms are within the hedgerow it was suggested to leave them there and take no further action. The ones that are at the front of a hedgerow the Caretaker would be able to remove for safety as he has a chainsaw license
Two Corsican Pines at Highbridge cemetery:
A neighbour whose garden backs onto the cemetery was concerned about 2 very tall pine trees. I had these trees surveyed and the results were one is absolutely fine, strong and healthy and it was suggested to have the other tree surveyed every 6 months and that It would not be sensible or practical to reduce the height of these trees as all the growth and live branches are at the top part of the tree.
Brent Road Cemetery Breach of Regulation (see photo). This grave space is in the lawn section of the cemetery. The lessee of the grave space was notified of this breach in regulations but unfortunately had moved and not notified us of a change of address. The Caretaker removed all the items and they were stored in the garage, where they have since been collected.
A new bench has been donated and installed at Brent Road Cemetery.
Report author: Lorna Williams – Deputy Town Clerk
Report Date: 16th September 2020