Grave concern over cemetery clearance

Strayfield Road Cemetery
Strayfield Road Cemetery, as it looked before Enfield Council began clearance work

Report by James Cracknell

Bereaved families have hit out at Enfield Council over the clearance of graves at Strayfield Road Lawn Cemetery.

Relatives of people buried at the cemetery were told only headstones and small kerbs at the foot of the graves were allowed to remain and that “no other surrounds, fences, trees or shrubs are permitted”.

Clearance work began in August but families now fear the graves will be trampled by visitors, disrespecting the dead. Trevor Docherty, whose sister-in-law Deniz Halil is buried at the cemetery, told the Dispatch: “If a grave isn’t clearly marked out people will walk over it because they don’t know it’s there. We saw someone do that and they were quite embarrassed when we told them what they were walking over.

“What the council is doing is totally outrageous. A graveyard should be somewhere you find peace and sanctuary.”

A petition against the removal of artefacts from graves has been signed by more then 1,000 people. Amid the growing controversy council leader Nesil Caliskan said: “It is important that the council provides attractive, peaceful and safe cemeteries where graves can be properly prepared, well maintained and easily accessed by all grave owners and visitors.

“We have simply asked grave owners of plots where the surround, planting or memorial items do not comply with agreed guidelines to undertake remedial action to help prevent intrusions on other graves and help with accessibility, maintenance and safety issues.

“We understand that it can be distressing to be asked to remove non-compliant items or planting.”

Trevor denies that the cemetery is a health hazard. He added: “The truth is they want to cram as many graves in there as possible.”

Concerned relatives are asked to call the council’s bereavement services manager on 020 8379 3767.