Inspections to check memorial stones for stability

Monday, 6 June 2022

In July we will begin a sensitive audit of memorial stones in our three cemeteries to check they are stable and don’t pose a safety risk to people that visit the cemeteries and the staff that work in them.

All types of memorials higher than 18 inches (approximately 45.5cm) will be checked for stability at Dean Road & Manor Road and Woodlands cemeteries in Scarborough and Larpool cemetery in Whitby.

The inspections will be carried out on our behalf by a qualified contractor.

A visual test of each memorial will take place to look for cracks, unsecure joints and unstable foundations. A gentle hand push test, carried out sensitively, will also be used to identify any movement between the different parts of the memorial.

Test results will be recorded. Safe memorials will be flagged for inspection again in five years’ time.

Memorials that are recorded unsafe, will immediately be carefully staked and banded to make them safe. A notice will be placed by the memorial stating the reason for staking and who to contact for further information. The contractor will also inform our bereavement services team so they can get in touch with the last known grave owner.

Only when absolutely necessary will a memorial be laid flat.

It is anticipated our contractor will complete his work by the end of March 2023, at the latest.

Owners of unsafe memorials will be given time to make the required repairs. This will be three months for staked memorials and six months for those laid flat.

We are using our online channels and physical notices in the cemeteries to raise awareness, and informing local media.

More information about the inspection process is available on our cemeteries and crematorium page. Alternatively you can email our bereavement services team or call 01723 372652.

Councillor Tony Randerson, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said:

"We recognise how important and treasured memorial stones are to the families and friends of those they commemorate. Many of the very old and ornate memorials are also of historic significance to the borough.

"At the same time, we have a legal duty to ensure our cemeteries are safe places for people to visit and work, which is why we need to carry out these inspections and take action to make unstable memorials safe.

"Our contractors will be respectful of the environment they are working in and inspections will never be conducted when burials or grave side services are taking place nearby."