COUNCILLORS in Caerphilly have called for an end to a “blanket ban” on memorial benches in council-owned cemeteries. 

Two Plaid Cymru councillors - John Roberts and Colin Elsbury - have put forward a motion which would allow grieving relatives to have benches on Caerphilly council’s cemetery sites. 

The motion reads: “This ban unjustly deprives individuals, families and friends from paying their full respects and being able to remember as they would like, a departed loved one.

“In new parts of cemeteries where graves are now being placed people are being discriminated against, particularly some of our more vulnerable people who cannot stand for very long. 

“This might well prevent some people from even visiting the final resting place of their nearest and dearest.

Further information was provided by Cllr Roberts which said the authority have not permitted benches within cemeteries for a number of years.

He said: “We do allow families to consider planting a memorial tree for loved ones, location to be agreed on site with an area officer, which makes perfect sense.


“But it’s been asked of me what of the vulnerable, especially if they can’t stand for very long, are we preventing some from visiting.”

The motion will be considered by the council’s environment and scrutiny committee and will be presented to full council at a later date.

A report says prior to 2008, families could purchase wooden benches for a one-off fee, which was around £500.

But this left the council with maintenance costs as well as any repair costs if the benches were damaged.

However, in 2008 a ‘task and finish group’ visited the cemeteries and found there were too many such benches.

The report says: “Officers were also aware of a number of complaints received from families who had purchased memorial benches, requesting that measures be put in place to prevent other visitors from sitting on what they deem as ‘their’ bench.

“The council now provide suitable metal benches across municipal cemeteries and if required, bereaved families may apply for the installation of a plaque in memory of a loved one. 

“These benches are sited in such a position not to cause any operational difficulties.”

The motion will be discussed by the scrutiny committee next Tuesday, June 22.