10:32am Friday 13th September 2013
By Stuart Laundy
PARISH councillors are demanding urgent talks over the state of a village cemetery.
The graveyard, at Evenwood, in Teesdale, is maintained by Durham County Council but village representatives claim it has been neglected.
Evenwood Parish Council chairwoman Barbara Nicholson told this month's meeting the poor condition of the cemetery “comes up time after time” when talking to residents.
The meeting was told the county council was planning to carry out some maintenance during the coming weeks.
But Coun Nicholson said: “They are going to come and do what they think needs to be done. They do a quick tidy up and we don't hear from them.
“It's about time they met the parish council and for us to oversee what needs to be done.”
She added: “There are people who go down there every week and they are falling over things, moving things and scrambling to their lived ones' graves.
“It's about time Evenwood Cemetery was given a new lease of life. What is the point of Durham County Council coming and tidying up bits and pieces and not getting to the crux of it.”
Councillor Anne Lyons pointed out that it cost much more to put a headstone on a grave at Evenwood than many other cemeteries because it was maintained by Durham County Council and not the local parish or town.
“It costs £225 to put a headstone up. It is another cash cow. A lot of residents don't realise how much it is – the cost is outrageous,” she said.
“I don't think it's fair. Where is the revenue going. Would it not be better if it went on paying someone to keep the cemetery clean and tidy.”
Coun Nicholson added: “It seems that Evenwood is bottom of the pile when it comes to money.”
The meeting was told Evenwood Parish Council could not afford to take over responsibility for the cemetery.
Durham County Council's street scene manager Jimmy Bennett said the authority was responsible for maintaining 42 open cemeteries and 83 closed church yards.
He said he would be happy to meet Evenwood parish councillors to discuss their concerns over the state of the village cemetery.
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