Mourners will gather at Hey Lane Cemetery in Huddersfield this weekend to protest the council’s alteration of the sides of the grave at the site near Castle Hill.
There has been an outpouring of anger in recent days after it emerged Kirklees Council had removed ornaments and decorative keepsakes from graves and dumped them in plastic bags. The items were left in the cemetery parking lot and will remain there for four weeks, with people having to collect them themselves.
In response, a group called “Protect the resting place of our loved ones” was created on Facebook, with people encouraged to meet at the cemetery at 11 a.m. on Sunday April 3. Writing on the page, the organizer said: “Kirklees Council is disgustingly removing the items of our loved ones from their resting place.
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“Not only are they removing them, but they’re bagging them like they’re trash and throwing them in the parking lot…Let’s stand together on this. It’s disgusting, inhumane and heartbreaking.”
A total of 17 people said they would gather at the cemetery on Sunday, with 37 others confirming they were “interested”. Grieving relatives were encouraged to bring “before and after” photos of graves, as well as banners or “anything that helps the protest”.
In a statement given to Yorkshire Live On Thursday (March 24), the council said anyone buying land at the cemetery is advised of a condition that ‘no borders, fences, ornaments or any form of planting will be permitted’. The authority added that owners of graves with “unauthorized items” received a letter on March 4 warning them that they should be removed within a fortnight.
Colin Parr, strategic director for environment and climate change, said the council is required to ‘ensure the cemetery is in harmony with its surroundings, considering its location in a rural setting as a natural lawned graveyard “.
He continued: “We appreciate that this is a sensitive and emotional issue, but the council has a duty to maintain the site in accordance with the planning conditions and to respect the wishes of the families who respect the terms of their grave lease, which has been agreed to all burial owners on this site at the point of sale.”
Mr Parr added that some council workers had been “subjected to verbal abuse and threats of violence”, which he said the council “would not tolerate”.
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