Photograph showing rows of graves in Knutsford Cemetery

Memorial Safety Inspections

On Thursday 21st January Knutsford Town Council is commencing a programme of routine memorial safety testing in Knutsford Cemetery. All memorials are required to be tested for safety every five years and the council is undertaking tests on every memorial in the cemetery over the coming months to bring records fully up to date as no records of memorial safety were passed on to the council when it took the cemetery back in 2020.

Testing will be conducted by section in the following order: A, B, L, M, C, D, E, F, J, H, G, K, D.

The testing involves applying a small amount of pressure to the top of a memorial to identify if the memorial is properly anchored into the ground and no damage is done to a memorial through this test. Every memorial which fails the test will be immediately but temporarily made safe. Most memorials failing the safety check will be supported with a stake and banding; where this is not possible the council may have to cordon an area of the cemetery off or temporarily lay the memorial down. After testing in each section of the cemetery has been completed, the council will write to the burial rights holder advising what works are required.

It is the responsibility of burial rights holders to maintain memorials and they will be responsible for any repair costs. The Town Council will look to secure a discounted rate for any memorial repairs from a registered memorial mason using its purchase power to reduce the repair cost for individual grave owners; grave owners will also be able to arrange their own repair through the usual memorial works approvals process with the council.

Town Clerk Adam Keppel-Green said: “Undertaking these tests are an important part of managing safety at the cemetery. For a period, a number of graves may be staked and feature warning notices – we will endeavour to keep this period as short as possible and the swift cooperation of burial rights holders will help keep the cemetery presentable.”

“We are also taking the opportunity to remind burial rights holders to ensure their contact information is up-to-date; if you own a grave in the cemetery but have moved house since it was purchased please check with us that we hold your latest address so that any letters make it to you”

The Town Council is also encouraging visitors to family graves to consider who might own the grave. Burial rights last around 100 years and there is a process for the rightful owner of a grave claiming the rights to graves where the owner has passed away.

If you have any questions about the cemetery, the programme of memorial testing or transferring burial rights please call us on 01565 653 929 or email cemetery@kntusfordtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Cllr Jan Nicholson and Cllr Andrew Malloy stood near the sign to Knutsford Cemetery

Town Council takes back Knutsford Cemetery

Knutsford Town Council marked the turn of the new year by becoming a burial authority as Knutsford Cemetery returned to local control; this followed a review of options which took place in September 2018 when the council decided to terminate the service agreement with Cheshire East Council.

The five-acre site on Tabley Road opened in January 1902 and whilst it had been managed by Cheshire East Council and the former Macclesfield Borough Council since 1974 the ownership of the site has always been held by Knutsford Town Council.

“Our aim is to have a place of remembrance in which we can all commemorate, remember and spend time with our loved ones, a place which the community can be truly proud of and we believe the town council is best placed to deliver this.”

Cllr Andrew Malloy, Mayor of Knutsford

During 2020 the council will be introducing a number of changes as part of ambitious plans to make the cemetery the best in Cheshire. The council’s plans include:

  • Installation of new bins across the cemetery to make it easier for visitors to dispose of on-site waste
  • Creation of new flower beds at the entrance to the cemetery
  • Installing additional benches to provide a place for visitors to sit and reflect
  • Planting trees to replace those which have been felled in the past
  • Re-standing fallen grave stones
  • Removing the existing ‘road blocks’ made with old grave stones and replacing them with flower planters

A new part-time post of Cemetery Groundskeeper has been created and will start in March with the mission of ensuring the cemetery is continually well cared for. On top of the essential maintenance the groundskeeper will be levelling lawns and tackling areas which have been overtaken by weeds. The groundskeeper will help the council minimise costs and cut carbon emissions by composting all green waste generated at the cemetery, creating compost which will be used on site.

The transfer of the cemetery operation is being delivered at no cost to the Knutsford taxpayer as costs are forecast to be covered by the fees charged for burials.

“We have been exploring the options on how best to manage the cemetery for a number of years and with it now back under direct town council control we are looking forward to making improvements and maintaining a quality cemetery for our residents”

Cllr Jan Nicholson, Deputy Chairman of the council’s Assets and Operations Committee and member of the council’s cemetery working group

The council welcomes feedback on all the services it offers and especially suggestions as to how it can work it make the cemetery as welcoming and pleasant as possible.