Topple test law change

PUBLISHED: 07:45 11 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:15 24 May 2010

THE uproar over gravestones flattened in a village churchyard has persuaded the Government to change the national rules on topple testing in cemeteries. Last year, North Somerset Council was accused of vandalism and desecration when it removed more than 5

THE uproar over gravestones flattened in a village churchyard has persuaded the Government to change the national rules on topple testing in cemeteries.Last year, North Somerset Council was accused of vandalism and desecration when it removed more than 50 gravestones in a closed churchyard in Hutton. The work was carried out under a European health and safety directive.After a campaign led by Hutton parish councillors and Weston MP John Penrose, the Government has declared that laying memorial stones flat 'should be a matter of last resort'.Parish councillors were outraged that families were not properly informed of the planned works at Hutton's St Mary's Church before it took place.Weston MP John Penrose wrote to the constitutional affairs minister Harriet Harman asking for the guidelines to be reviewed.In her reply, Ms Harman has confirmed the problems caused by the inspection in Hutton will be used to form new rules on topple testing.In the letter, Ms Harman wrote: "It was disappointing to hear some families were unaware of and distressed by the action taken, and that in some instances memorials were apparently laid down in a way that created further hazards."I have asked my officials involved in producing new national guidelines to take the experience of this case into account as the work proceeds."Mr Penrose said: "I am pleased the new guidelines are being prepared. "It is important that communities up and down the country are not subjected to the same unnecessary grief and anger as Hutton."Hutton parish Council chairman Steve Cope said: "It is too late for us but hopefully the guidelines will stop the same thing happening in other graveyards around the country."When the new guidelines come into force it will be interesting to see if we can go back to the council with a claim for compensation.

More from Weston Mercury

The English National Ballet will bring its Swan Lake performance to the West Country – and the Mercury is giving readers a chance to win tickets to see the show.

Read more

An East Brent play park will receive a five-figure upgrade to improve facilities for children in the village.

Read more

The collected 30 something’s were partying like it was 2002 at Bristol’s SWX on Friday as post punk rockers A returned to Bristol to play the whole of their seminal album Hi-Fi Serious.

Read more
11:05

More than £200,000 has been spent by North Somerset Council on redundancy payments in 18 months.

Read more

The plan to join up a walking and cycling route from Brean to Clevedon has moved a step closer.

Read more

Venture into the wizarding world with the latest remake of one of J K Rowling’s books.

Read more
07:56

A woman who has vowed to complete 40 outdoor swims in her 40th year is just three challenges away from hitting her target.

Read more
Weston-super-Mare
Yesterday, 17:37

Homemade crafts and items were sold in aid of one of Weston’s best-loved sites.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

A determined Weston woman has completed a gruelling seven-month swimming challenge to raise money for Weston Hospicecare in memory of her partner’s mum.

Read more
Weston Hospicecare Weston-super-Mare
Yesterday, 16:00

The fun and fervour of this year’s carnival may only just have begun to die down, but 50 years ago attention focussed on bringing the event back to Weston’s streets.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 4°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists