Friday, 21 March 2008

Grave danger?

"In loving memory of.. Safety Warning"

Even in death, it would appear, there is no escaping the all-pervading inteference of the Health & Safety inspector.

Sutton Council have been busy with clipboards and Risk Assessments in the graveyards of Worcester Park (St Philips Churchyard at the top of Central Road and the adjoining Cuddington Cemetery in Lindsay Road).

Their aim? To determine if any of the gravestones could pose a safetyhazard to the general public.

The result? Headstones in memorial to lost loved ones slapped with yellow 'Safety Warning' notices and unceremoniously 'secured' by wooden stakes and blue strapping.

Whilst their maintenance of public safety is laudable, it is sad to note that whilst Sutton Council has within its budget the funds to survey, inspect and cordon off supposedly dangerous grasvestones, the financing and logistics of making safe the condemned headstones lies with the graves' owners.

Thus, this Easter time, letters will be going out advising that Great Aunt Maud poses a danger to the Worcester Park public and should be dealt with as soon as possible.

Quite what happens if grave 's owner does not respond (or, as will likely be the case for some graves, there is nobody around to take on the responsibility) is unclear. Perhaps they will remain forever with the yellow warning labels, as a permanent monument to the Health & Safety culture.

Sutton Council, for their part, are only acting under the instructions of the Health & Safety Executive, and say that they are "well aware of the distress that these works may cause bereaved persons", but nonetheless it is a sad sight to behold.

Welcome to death, 21st century style.

Happy Easter!!