Gourock Cemetery - headstone safety checks start 30 September

Friday 13 September 2019

Headstones at Gourock Cemetery are to undergo routine safety tests starting from Monday 30 September.

Where a headstone or monument fails the safety test the council will try to contact the person who owns the lair to have it repaired. Information will be sent to the person’s last known address so it is very important for lair owners to let the council know if they move home.

If the owner can’t be contacted then the headstone will be laid flat.

Councillor Michael McCormick, Convener of Inverclyde Council’s Environment & Regeneration Committee said, “We do our best to approach this matter in a sensitive way but our overriding concern has to be the safety of the people who visit our cemeteries and the people who work in them. A child died in Glasgow in 2015 after a dangerous monument fell on him.

“We work closely with families to make sure they know it is their responsibility to look after their loved ones’ headstones. Where possible we also contact relatives before we take action. But we have to act where a memorial is dangerous.

“We appreciate that people may be unhappy about this and we apologise sincerely if it causes any upset.  We understand how difficult it can be for families to see a memorial to a loved one laid flat and we want to help people deal with their dangerous memorials as quickly as possible. Anyone who wants to talk about what is happening, or who needs information, should contact the Burial Grounds Office on (01475) 715658.”

The safety inspections are being carried out by trained, Inverclyde Council staff who will make sure that the work is done with due care and respect. Any work that is needed will be identified during this process. The council is advising lair owners to contact more than one Monumental Sculptor when getting quotes as repair costs can vary.

The inspections are part of a wider programme covering all of Inverclyde’s cemeteries. Inspections have been completed at Inverkip and Kilmacolm cemeteries. Port Glasgow has now also been fully inspected. All the memorials that failed the safety test there are now being laid flat by council staff or repaired by the lair owners. Gourock, Knocknairshill and Greenock cemeteries are still to be done.

Grave owners or their next of kin are responsible for maintaining headstones and memorials. However, if a memorial is dangerous then the council is obliged to make it safe. No memorials will be removed from the grave.

Page last updated: 13 September 2019