June 11, 2022 6.00 am

Call for cemeteries protection order to remain as consultation agreed

Pandemic left the cemetery “underused”

Gainsborough Town Council has asked for a protection order around the area’s cemeteries to be kept in place post-pandemic.

The authority feels West Lindsey District Council’s officers have not taken into account the “underuse” of the facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district’s Regulatory Committee on Thursday voted to approve a consultation around the Gainsborough Cemeteries Public Spaces Protection Order after being told “very little intervention” was needed and no fixed penalty notices were made since it was installed in 2019.

An officer told members: “For a PSPO to be in place there have to be certain criteria met… obviously at that point in 2019 when the PSPO start that was the case.”

However, he said the latest data: “Given the level of activities related to the site at this time, they aren’t significant.”

He said there was still enforcement officer that would be “as effective”.

However, Gainsborough Independent Councillor Timothy Davies said: “At the last full council meeting of Gainsborough Town Council, they unanimously voted to keep it at this time.

“They feel that the report is fantastic but you haven’t taken into consideration the last two years. The cemetery [during that time] was underused by members of the public.”

The order aimed to tackle anti-social behaviour from dog owners and restrict the use of motor vehicles for “recreational purposes”.

It is due to expire on October 13, 2022.

It was originally requested by Gainsborough Town Council following complaints from residents who reported dog faeces being found on graves and pets being allowed to walk over graves off their leads.

Data to the committee showed that in total there had been 61 visits to monitor with six reports from the public since the order was brought in.

Over the three years, one warning letter had been issued and seven people given words of advice after their dogs were off the lead.

In two instances the offenders left the cemetery before action could be taken.

If the order ends, alternative enforcement could include Community Protection Notices, additional signage and continued patrols by enforcement officers.

The consultation will take place from Monday, July 4, to Monday, August 1, 2022.