A campaigning group trying to stop Renfrewshire Council toppling headstones in local cemeteries is holding a protest rally outside the council buildings.

Scores of members and supporters of the Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery group are expected to gather at Renfrewshire House, in Cotton Street, Paisley, at 9.30am on Thursday, 27th June to hand over a petition signed by around 1500 people.

The group claim there are alternative methods of dealing with the issue of Scottish Government regulations regarding headstones.

And their petition calls for the local authority to stop toppling headstones and instead use the methods employed by other councils – like staking, repairing or sinking headstones further into the ground – to make the stone memorials safe.

Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery had written to Renfrewshire Council with alternative suggestions of dealing with the safety of headstones. But officials were adamant that their methods of mass toppling of headstones should continue, claiming that other ways of dealing with the issue weren’t ‘feasible’.
The local authority’s own figures show that more than 1500 headstones in Renfrewshire cemeteries have already been toppled and left to lie flat on the ground.

The group say many families have been upset when they have turned up at family graves to find headstones had been toppled.

Chairman of Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery, Des Barr said: “We fully support the Scottish Government ensuring that headstones are safe. But Renfrewshire Council has been intransigent in their policy of simply toppling headstones.

“Other local authorities, like East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire and East Ayrshire don’t simply topple headstones and instead, use alternative methods of making headstones safe.

“The council claim these methods used by other local authorities aren’t ‘feasible’, but if they are feasible for these other councils, why are they not feasible options for Renfrewshire Council?”

Headline image: Des Barr

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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