Coldstream’s anger at state of cemetery

Lennel Cemetery near Coldstream.
Lennel Cemetery near Coldstream.

The state of Lennel cemetery for a funeral just before Christmas and the lack of information about a new cemetery for the town is causing a great deal of upset to many residents.

In a letter to the editor this week Coldstream resident Jim Leifer said: “I wrote a letter to you regarding a funeral which took place in 2016. The letter referred to the terrible state of Lennel cemetery and the lack of available burial plots. We are now into 2019 and neither the community council nor the people of Coldstream seem to know what is happening about a new cemetery.”

He questioned whether SBC do a risk assessment before a funeral, concluding: “I wonder if the council do this for burials because I can’t see how there is not a risk to pall bearers having to walk about 40m over digger tracked graves, and finally mud, to get to the burial plot.

“Then the people who were lowering the coffin were forced to stand against a fence in case they slipped into the grave - very unsatisfactory and very undignified.”

Mr Leifer wasn’t alone in being appalled by the state of the cemetery at the funeral held in mid December and at this month’s community council it was described as “disrespectful and undignified”.

The lack of lairs left in Lennel cemetery and progress with finding a site for a new one for the town has been on the community council agenda almost every month since January 2016.

In November 2016 it was reported there were eight lairs left and in January 2017 the community council asked SBC Mid Berwickshire councillors: “Is there a sense of urgency? What money has been set aside for it?”

By June 2017 Councillor Donald Moffat, who is liaising with SBC officers about a new cemetery, said that a planning application relating to land for the new cemetery would be “imminent” but no information about where it would be could be revealed until legal negotiations were complete.

At last week’s community council meeting Mr Moffat was asked to speak to officials and find out how long it will take for planning and groundworks before a new site can be operational.

Community council chairman Martin Brims said: “The situation was unacceptable two or three years ago and it hasn’t got any better. People will want to be buried nearby and not at Birgham, Leitholm or further away.”

The community council also asked what SBC will do to avoid a repeat of conditions at the December funeral.