A Scarborough mum has set up a petition to Scarborough Borough Council to change the rules on how graves can be decorated.
Jade McHale responded after the council warned residents that banned memorials would be removed.
In the petition she said: “Scarborough Council has changed the rules on how we should decorate loved ones’ graves, all that is allowed is just simply potted plants and flowers. Those memorials are the only thing that people have left of their family members. Why should they take those rights away from us?”
Jade lost her daughter, baby Amelia, almost five years ago and always has sentimental gifts on her grave such as teddies, ornaments and potted plants.
The mum-of-three said: ”We can’t afford a headstone yet so we always put teddies and things down as well as flowers and ornaments to make it nice. On her birthday we always put up birthday balloons. Now we won’t be able to do that.”
A spokesperson from Scarborough Borough Council, said: “Our Memorials Policy isn’t new and has been in place for more than ten years. Given the sensitivities associated with adornments on graves and memorials, we have, in the past, adopted a low key approach to making people aware of policy.
“Unfortunately, over time, this has resulted in some graves in Woodlands Cemetery and Larpool Lane Cemetery becoming excessively adorned and in some cases, encroaching onto neighbouring graves. This causes distress for the owners of the neighbouring graves and makes it very difficult for our parks staff to maintain areas around the graves.
“Our recent activity to raise greater awareness of the policy, including on-site signage, social media and press activity, follows a decision taken by councillors in late 2017 to take a stricter approach to enforcing the policy.
“We note the recent petition lodged with the council and will be in a position to comment further on it once it has closed.”
Jade decided to set up the petition after she realised how “angered” people were about the council’s decision and was shocked at how quickly people were getting on board.
On the independent site, www.change.org, Jade’s petition now has over 1,000 signatures.
The council has recognised Jade’s petition and set up an ePetition on the council’s official website.
They added that the petition referenced in their statement is the one formally lodged with them, not the one that features on an independent site.
Controversy on memorials
Last year, the Cabinet member for public health and housing, Cllr Bill Chatt, sparked controversy when he likened the Scarborough graveyard to a “rave”.
He said: “A cemetery should be a place to lay people to rest. If you go to Woodlands at night it looks like a disco there are that many LED lights flashing. It looks like a night rave.”
Jade, of Rowan Close, said that she feels the comment is “disrespectful” to people who are grieving for the loss of loved ones and create memorials at the cemetery to remember those that have passed away.