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Memorial safety testing in Solihull cemeteries

Solihull Council will be undertaking safety checks on memorials in Robin Hood, Widney Manor and Woodlands cemeteries from October 2019.

The works are being carried out to ensure the cemeteries are safe places for the public to visit and will commence at Woodlands Cemetery from 1 October. There are around 20,000 headstones to be tested across the three sites, which will be done over a five-year programme.

Testing will initially involve a visual inspection by trained staff, which will check for any noticeable cracks and damage. This will be followed by a physical test where they will touch the headstones to check they are safe.

Any memorials found to be unsafe will be secured with a temporary stake or cordoned off to ensure that they do not present a risk to visitors. The Council will write to the grave owners to let them know that the memorial is unsafe and ask them to make it safe.

Councillor Alison Rolf, Cabinet Member for Safer & Stronger Communities, said: “Testing the memorials in our cemeteries is an important role for us to undertake as we need to ensure they do not pose a risk to people visiting gravesides.

“Some headstones are very old and in some cases very high, so it’s really important they remain in a safe condition.

“We will of course take extra care when carrying out the tests and aim to keep disruption to a minimum. However, we would advise visitors to take note of the warning signs which will be in place at the cemeteries and be cautious near memorials during testing.”

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