Cemetery problems resolved at council

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Issues surrounding access to Ballymoney Cemetery have been resolved, according to council minutes.

Recently, members of the public, particularly those with disabilities, complained about not being able to gain access, at times, to the graves because bollards had been erected.

The matter became a strong bone of contention with various public representatives registering their complaints, but after some deliberation the council have come up with a solution which the Mayor, Cllr. John Finlay, believes is workable.

Proposals that provide controlled access to those who have need and also control of movement of such private vehicles within the cemetery are to be implemented.

Clear rules were necessary as to those who would be permitted to benefit from such enhanced access.

It was suggested that the following qualifying need criteria apply in respect of any requests amade - blue badge holders and access for a limited period with a supporting lettter from the person’s GP.

The cost of work will be in the region of £10,000.

Cllr. Finlay said there were two things to balance - the right of people to get to graves and to acknowledge the fact that graves had been destroyed and that respect ought to be given to those graves.

“I feel the council has done very well and I am sure they will get things in place as soon as possible. I feel the council has made a good decision here,” he said.

Councillor Tom McKeown, who commented favourably on the work of staff at the other cemetery, asked about people being allowed to the graves to carry out maintenance work perhaps once a year and could they gain access.

Council officer, Mr John Michael, commented: “We would certainly look at this. People must make their needs known to us and these will be considered on their merits but we are reasonable people.”

Those who benefit from the new arrangements would be subject to an annual review. It was agreed that council install controlled measures and qualifying criteria.