Earlier this year Southampton City Council undertook a public consultation on draft proposals to install bollards aimed at restricting vehicular access to the side paths at St Mary Extra Cemetery
Following a review of the responses to this consultation, the decision has been made to not install these bollards.
The draft proposal aimed to reduce damage to graves and memorials, as well as reduce potholes which pose a health and safety risk.
The consultation was an opportunity for stakeholders to express their views, concerns and suggest alternative proposals. The impact to responders was considered, alongside the votes for and against.
In total, 49% of the residents who responded to the consultation voted in favour of the installation of bollards to restrict vehicular access to the side paths and 46% of respondents voted against. Despite the small overall majority for the bollards, the decision has been made not to install the bollards. This is because the groups that most strongly disagreed and would be most adversely impacted by the proposals were those with loved ones laid to rest at St Mary Extra (57%), respondents that said they are disabled (60%) and residents of the SO19 postcode area (54%).
Councillor Eammon Keogh, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said:
"We have listened to the public and have decided not to go ahead with the bollards. There are groups of visitors who use the cemetery with opposing views and our decision will not be popular with all. We appeal to everyone involved to respect the views and rights of others and to make the cemetery a peaceful place where relatives can pay respect to their deceased loved ones.
We will continue to look for a solution to reduce damage caused by vehicles to ensure St Mary Extra Cemetery is a safe and peaceful place for all."
Heather White, Service Manager for Bereavement at Southampton City Council, commented:
"The council has responsibility for the proper management and control of the cemetery and, as such, has the difficult task of balancing the needs of all cemetery visitors, whether in vehicles or on foot and of the grave owners, many of whom have placed kerb sets and memorials on graves adjoining the footpaths.
We would like to remind the public that any person who damages, defaces or destroys any property or causes any nuisance within the cemeteries will be liable to prosecution.
The footpaths at St Mary Extra Cemetery have not been constructed to withstand regular vehicular use and many of them are not of a sufficient width to accommodate vehicles without adjoining graves and memorials being put at risk of damage or without blocking access to those on foot.
Vehicles are only allowed access along the main drives and no vehicles are allowed to travel on any other drive or path without the consent of the Registrar."
The aim of this consultation was to:
- Communicate clearly to residents and stakeholders the draft proposals with regards to St Mary Extra Cemetery
- Ensure any resident, business or stakeholder who wished to comment on the proposals had the opportunity to do so, enabling them to raise any impacts they believed the proposals may have, and
- Allow participants to propose alternative suggestions for consideration, which they feel could achieve the objectives in a different way
This consultation took place between Thursday 8 June and Wednesday 5 July 2023 and consisted of an in-person meeting on 8 June at the crematorium and an online survey, that could also be printed out and handed in at the crematorium.
View the full set of results.