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Grave checks set for cemeteries.

HEADSTONE safety testing is being carried out at all Northumberland County Council cemeteries in the coming months.

The action forms part of a preplanned five-year programme to test the safety and stability of all memorials within cemeteries and closed churchyards which are managed by the authority.

The authority claims this type of testing is standard practice across the country and is required in all cemeteries to ensure public safety.

If any memorials are found to require attention, the memorial owner will be contacted and the cemeteries team will provide help to ensure any memorials of concern are made safe.

However, a council spokesman added: "It is the responsibility of the grave owner to maintain their memorial in a safe condition, including any repairs that may arise over the years.

"Any repairs will have to be carried out by an approved monumental mason."

Coun Ian Swithenbank is cabinet member for local services at the authority.

He said: "'While we appreciate this is a sensitive issue we have a duty of care to make sure our cemeteries are safe for visitors.

"The council is contacting families and deed holders to advise them the safety checks are taking place."

CAPTION(S):

Coun Ian Swithenbank

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 13, 2015
Words:201
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