NEW rules look set to be introduced to tighten up what can and can’t be left in tribute at gardens of remembrance across Fareham.
The regulations have been drawn up in response to criticism of Fareham Borough Council when signs were put up in Crofton Cemetery, Stubbington in April warning tributes would be removed for ‘health and safety’ reasons.
Angry relatives were unhappy with the way the council handled the situation, and it was admitted by the council’s cemeteries officer that the rules were not specific.
The report states the council’s cemetery regulations are being updated to ‘provide clarity for relatives’.
The new rules state that all tributes must not ‘be excessive’ and should not interfere with adjoining plots. Lanterns, wind chimes and ornaments on spikes or hooks will be banned, as will glass jars or vases.
Small floral tributes and solar lights will be permitted, but it adds: ‘The council has introduced a height restriction of 20cm for such tributes as it has been found that, over time, people tend to leave bigger and better tributes than the last relative and the height of some items has reached in excess of 120cm.’
However, it goes on to say that the council ‘reserves the right’ to remove ‘unsightly’ objects or anything ‘deemed not in accordance with these regulations.’
Martin Skelton, of Rectory Close in Stubbington, has his wife, Ann, interred in the garden and complained to the council about the notice. At the time he removed a small angel statue in case it was taken away, but he has since returned it.
Mr Skelton said: ‘Most of these new rules seem quite reasonable, but I think they need to revise that last one – it’s too vague, too open to interpretation still.
‘Hopefully, though, we have pushed this forward and the council will now have some proper guidelines.
‘Some of the displays are a little OTT but I think the council should leave people to grieve in the way they want. There’s no set way of grieving.
‘It does look a lot tidier there now though, you can see there’s a lot less clutter.’
Six of the eight council-run cemeteries have gardens of remembrance, also including Wickham Road in Fareham, Claypits and St Peters in Titchfield, Roman Grove in Portchester and Holly Hill in Sarisbury.
The council’s ruling executive will consider whether to accept the guidelines at its meeting on Monday.