Combs Parish Council to take action if decorative gravestones which are causing “distress” are not changed

Combs Parish Council is threatening action over decorative gravestones. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Combs Parish Council is threatening action over decorative gravestones. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

A parish council is threatening action against families who create decorative gravestones in the village churchyard because they are causing “distress”.

Combs Parish Council has sent a letter to every family who has a relative buried in Combs Cemetery, near Stowmarket.

Instead of “simple gravestones”, some are opting for a wide selection of decorations including edgings, stone figures, memorabilia and the planting of shrubs, the letter said.

Families have been given until March to get the gravestones and areas for cremated remains in order. But the council has admitted it expects the issue to be “emotive” and “sensitive” for some.

Ian Clark, chairman of the council, said in the letter: “Unfortunately, there has been a growing trend towards decorating grave sites, in a variety of ways.

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“These include edgings and surrounds, stone figures, memorabilia and the planting of shrubs etc.

“All of which are contrary to the regulations, as displayed at the entrance to the cemetery. These decorations have caused distress to other users of the cemetery, resulting in complaints to the parish council.

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“As a result, the parish council is now asking all users of the cemetery to review the cemetery regulations and to support the parish council in maintaining the cemetery in a way that meets the needs of all users.”

The council is responsible for the upkeep of cemetery and the following of its regulations.

Chris Childs, reverend at the cemetery’s church, St Mary’s, would not be drawn on the matter. He said: “It’s a parish council matter because it is their church yard, it’s not a matter on which the church has any jurisdiction on so there’s nothing we can say.”

The parish is asking for the removal of all items that “contravene” the regulations, with flowers limited to one vase per burial plot.

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