Closing Cemeteries – Are Pocklington Residents At Risk?

After yesterday’s post Covid 19 – Closing Cemeteries I received various emails that resulted in more questions than answers.

Credit is due to Market Weighton Town Council who replied promptly to my initial enquiry and informed me that: “We act on the guidance of the Government via NALC and ERNLLCA and are currently following their advice.”

(NB: For information about NALC and ERNLLCA please click on the links)

In reply to MWTC I asked: “I am fully aware of the relevant legislation but I am unaware of any such “guidance” of the Government to close open spaces. Could you please forward me copy?”

Given my concerns I also contacted ERNLLCA to raise my concerns: “I am surprised to learn that ERNLLCA are giving advice to Parish/Town Councils, that they are acting upon, which is not in line with the thinking of Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick. Could I please request that you revisit this as a matter of urgency?”

I await a reply from both MWTC and ERNLLCA.

Further Research

As a result of further research and with modest access to the required information it appears that the Government have stated all cemeteries must close.

If this is correct and the statement above from Cllr Peter Hammerman, Market Weighton Mayor, is also correct it suggests that MWTC may indeed have acted correctly.

If this is this case Pocklington Town Council, having failed to close the Pocklington Cemetery, are putting Pocklington residents at risk. Of course, closing the Cemetery and keeping the right of way open would require the simple measure of “roping off” the Cemetery from the right of way.

Government – Left and Right Hand

Would this mean that the statement of the Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick made should be filed under “Left and Right Hand”?

“The Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that closing parks and open spaces in lockdown should be ‘last resort’.

He added: “This is [the councils] decision, but I have asked them to be very judicious in taking that step and only to do that where they feel it is impossible to maintain social distancing rules within their parks or open spaces.””

Email To ERNLLCA And Greg Knight East Yorkshire MP

Sent: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 10:41 AM
Subject: Covid 19 – Closing East Yorkshire Cemeteries

Dear Greg and ERNLLCA,

Could I please refer you to (link) and the emails below?

Between yourselves can you please decide are Market Weighton Town Council (MWTC) or Pocklington Town Council (PTC) acting as per the Governments position regards Cemeteries?

Has MWTC been over-exuberant or have PTC misunderstood what is required?

Given the seriousness of the situation could I please request that this is resolved by close of business today?

Could I please request a statement for publication?


Andy Strangeway

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