Slamannan Cemetery is being ‘left to rot’

The cemtery in Slamannan is not ageing gracefully according to local residents
The cemtery in Slamannan is not ageing gracefully according to local residents
0
Have your say

The council has vowed to clean up a Braes cemetery following complaints from loved ones who attend the graves of their relatives.

Families say the cemetery at Slamannan Parish Church is in a state of disrepair following years of neglect and want paths, roads and drainage upgraded and decorative features added to be on a par with other cemeteries in the district.

Pic Lisa McPhillips 16/09/2013'Slamannan Parish Church , locals complaing about the mess of the Graveyard and lots of headstones are broken and have fell over

Pic Lisa McPhillips 16/09/2013'Slamannan Parish Church , locals complaing about the mess of the Graveyard and lots of headstones are broken and have fell over

Falkirk Council, which maintains the cemetery, says there is “no doubt” original infrastructure has experienced some deterioration over the years, but it is in keeping with a site of its age that is maintained to a “good” standard.

Pensioner Alex Buchanan of Limerigg, a retired plumber and local historian, tends to five plots in the cemetery for families who now live abroad and believes other cemeteries receive “preferential treatment” in terms of maintenance.

He said: “I show visitors from overseas around the cemetery frequently to see the graves of their relatives and they say it is a bit of a disgrace. On the day I took Canadian friends to the cemetery it was wet and the un-tarred path was like a mud bath with water running like a stream past a sunken drain full of mud - a drain that has been dysfunctional for years.

“Like many parishioners in Slamannan I have often attended funerals where mourners had to walk on the grass rather than tramp through the mud. I think other cemeteries get preferential treatment. Slamannan is being left to rot.”

Councillor John McLuckie said: “I have had a number of discussions with officers who have done as good a job as they can following two atrocious winters. I would be happy to meet church representatives and local people to discuss their opinions on these sensitive issues.”

The council’s head of operational services John Paterson said a number of improvements will be carried out including ornate planted borders at strategic points, an extension of the path at the lower end to the main internal tarmac road, repairs to the paths and road, a reinstatement of drains if necessary and a general tidy-up of the bench area near the bothy.

The council will also resume discussions with the church over the future of the bothy, which could be repaired or demolished.

Mr Paterson added: “I would describe the condition of the cemetery as fair to good for its age and in comparison to many other similarly aged cemeteries in Scotland, given environmental conditions.

“In response to concerns over fallen and falling headstones, the lair holders or surviving relatives are responsible for their upkeep and condition and at present the council has no provision to restore any to their upright position. Indeed this would not be possible for some of them.

“The matter is complex and involving, hence the recent Executive decision for a policy development panel to debate the council’s future policies related to headstones and other bereavement matters.

“ People can be assured that Slamannan Cemetery is being regularly maintained and any deterioration is in keeping with its age and nature of the cemetery. The outlined corrective actions will be completed as soon as possible.”

Ray Buchanan of the church’s congregational board said they are hoping the church building will undergo a renovation in the near future with plans to make it a multi-use facility with costs being met from the possible sale of the manse and Lottery funding.