CC July 2021 Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of the Cemetery Committee held on Thursday 15 July 2021 at 7.00pm at the Cemetery off Hereward Way Deeping St James 

Present: Councillors Halls, Shinkins-Hoppe, Stevens, Thomas and Olson (as observer). The minutes were taken by the Parish Clerk.

22.1 To elect a Chairperson. 
It was proposed seconded and RESOLVED that Councillor Thomas should remain

22.2 To receive apologies of absence.
All present.

22.3 To receive any declarations of interest. 
None declared.

22.4 To agree the minutes of the last meeting held on Tuesday 15 September 2020.
Agreed and signed as a true copy.

22.5 To receive the Clerks report.
The work to the hedge and trees at the northern boundary of the old cemetery was completed in January 2021 although they are already showing signs of needing another trim which the Clerk will arrange for this Autumn along with the hedge along the western boundary of the new Cemetery. 
The decision to enforce the regulations regarding flowerbed planting and ornaments on graves agreed at the meeting in June 2020 did result in a number of relatives contacting the office and also speaking to the Maintenance Worker. The majority of them were satisfied with the explanation as to why this had to happen but there were some who were not. The Maintenance Worker has now removed all the ornaments and re-seeded all the flowerbeds on the graves although he has allowed planting of spring flowering bulbs directly into the grass on the graves.  
Councillor Thomas planted snowdrops around the Cemetery in January 2021 and would like to plant more at the beginning of next year.  
The planned extension to the Cemetery was completed in April 2021 by relocating the current railings and new railings were installed around the play equipment in May 2021.  
The work on the railings and the clearing of graves to adhere to the Cemetery regulations as well as undertaking some work to reduce risks in the old Cemetery along with the recent weather conditions being ideal for stimulating growth have meant that the contractual hours of 15 per week have not been sufficient for the maintenance worker to maintain the standard that they set last Summer. Additional hours have been worked where possible and the staffing sub-committee are to recommend that a contractor is used to do some of the tasks required (e.g. hedge cutting) and that the Clerk enquires about re-instating the visits from the Probation Service Community Payback Team.  
There have been some observations received in the parish council office about the length of the grass and the number of weeds on the gravel paths and within the grave beds of the old Cemetery. This has not been helped by the decision to try to manage the weeds without using a pesticide and of course the recent weather encouraging growth.  
A request for information for non-domestic rating purposes was completed by the Clerk in May 2021 on behalf of the Valuation office agency. This asked about the total site area, the area fully utilised, the number of burials and interments in the last 3 years, the estimated area required over the next 10 and 15 years and the physical changes to the Cemetery in the last 5 years.   
Since the last meeting of the committee on 15 September 2020 there have been 6 interments of cremated remains and 4 burials. There have also been 3 reservations for interment of cremated remains plots and 2 reservations for burial plots.  
A refurbished bench was purchased and is currently sited in the old Cemetery waiting for a concrete base to be laid. A further bench has been salvaged and is awaiting refurbishment to also be installed in the old Cemetery on a concrete base. The memorial bench originally sited at Jubilee Park but unfortunately vandalised on two occasions, will be installed in the new Cemetery on a concrete base when a date has been agreed with the family.      
22.6 To inspect the Cemetery grounds and make any observations and / or recommendations.    
All agreed that leaving the newly allocated cemetery land as a meadow was a good idea as it looked good and was environmentally friendly. There was discussion about how it would be cut as it would need doing eventually with the suggestion of sheep being allowed to graze there mentioned but not agreed. 
The Old Cemetery was looking much better.  The Cemetery worker had worked additional hours to get back on track. 
Councillor Stevens had shared some photographs of two Cemeteries she knew of in Norfolk where re-wilding was being encouraged. All agreed that these looked very good but if the idea was adopted here work would be required to properly re-wild the area not just allow the grasses and weeds to grow. It was also acknowledged that even an area that has been re-wilded needed managing. Councillor Stevens suggested that if the idea was pursued a poster could be placed in the Cemetery informing people of the wild flowers that were growing in the area. 
It was noted that the newly planted hedging in the old Cemetery was doing very well but some of the self-set growth near the boundary needed removing. The Clerk advised that the Maintenance staff were aware of this and would be able to do the work.
It was acknowledged that the row of Yew trees needed some work and the condition of the London Plane and Wellingtonia both of which had preservation orders on them also needed assessing. This would take place as part of the tree stock survey for which three quotations had been obtained; a decision as to which contractor would be used would be made at the council meeting on 29 July 2021. It was also noted that some headstones were covered in ivy and/or needed cleaning. 
The Clerk advised that the Probation Service, who had not visited the Parish since pre the first lockdown in March 2020, often worked in the Cemetery - clearing weeds, cleaning headstones and painting the railings - and she had emailed them to see if they were able to return now that restrictions had been lifted.
As it was apparent that the Maintenance Staff would be unable to complete all the work required to maintain the Cemetery to a high standard due to lack of time or equipment it was agreed to RECOMMEND that a list of preferred contractors was drawn up who could be called upon to complete such work as hedge trimming and cutting the meadow area in the Autumn and the Spring. This supported the recommendation being put forward by the Staff sub-committee who had met on Thursday 8 July 2021.   

22.7 To note the date of the next meeting – 7pm on Thursday 16 September 2021