Category Archives: Adelaide Cemeteries Authority

How can graves at Cheltenham be protected under the “Significant Places Policy”?…

Our South Australian legislation leads the country in making it lawful, and absolutely acceptable, for graves to be re-used if the lease has not been renewed.  I am so ashamed. You can read about my views HERE.

Back in June 2013 it was a shock to discover my Great Grandmother’s grave had one of those lease renewal notices on it, despite me spending much money to back pay the lease, and keep her safe for a few more years, whilst sorting out what this was all about.

Thankfully it was confirmed, by the records department of the ACA, that her lease was indeed paid up and the notice had been removed.  However, questions about the process remained ignored, and unanswered for some three months, until eventually I took my questions to the “higher authority” ie. the Attorney General’s Department which oversee the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority in it’s management of Cheltenham, West Tce, Enfield and Smithfield cemeteries, on behalf of the South Australian Government. It was most pleasing to get a full and detailed response, especially in regard to the order in which Cheltenham gravesites, with unpaid leases, will come up for redevelopment.  If you missed that post, please click HERE to read.

One of my questions was in regard to the preservation of the graves of  our Pioneers at Cheltenham Cemetery. This was the response.

Response to my query from the Attorney General's Dept.

Response to my query from the Attorney General’s Dept.

Okey Dokey… great info and now it was time to go to the ACA’s  “Significant Places Policy” to see how this actually protects the graves of our pioneering Ancestors.

Q:   Am I able to ask that a gravesite be protected under the “Significant Places Policy” of the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority?

A:   4.2 of the policy (page 55) states:  “Any person or organisation may make re-commendations for inclusion in the Authority’s Significant Places List within Cheltenham Cemetery, Enfield Memorial Park or Smithfield Memorial Park. This includes members of the public, local government, State or Federal Government departments, Authority staff and Board Directors.”

Q:   What is the criteria for having a gravesite declared a “Significant Place” and therefore protected from being re-used if the lease has not been renewed?

A:  Pages 55 and 56 of the Policy describe the criteria for a gravesite being declared a “Significant Place” as:

Places
1. Design or layout of a cemetery, or part thereof, reflects history and cultural heritage or a movement in cemetery planning.
2. A structure within a cemetery is unique or unusual.
3. A structure within a cemetery reflects a particular style or trend in design.
4. Trees or vegetation of significance or expected to become significant in time.
5. Remnant vegetation at West Terrace Cemetery.
6. Expresses a particular group’s identity.
7. Reflects the diversity of the Australian community, including social values and customs at a particular time.

Monuments
1. A monument has unique or unusual masonry qualities.
2. A monument is a good example of a particular style of trend of monument design.
3. A monument denotes a significant date or incident in the history of a cemetery or the community.

Burial and Cremation sites
1. The site played a significant role in the development of the cemetery, that is, the first grave site, the first cremation memorial site.
2. The monumentation is dedicated to a particular group who have served the country or the community.

People
This policy allows the grave or memorial of a person to be accorded with significant place listing due to the person’s unique contribution to the community. In making the assessment, the Committee will consider—
1. The person’s international, national or local achievements.
2. The person’s history.
3. Any existing commemoration for the person and the location of that commemoration

Hmmm… I’ve always found Policy docs such a pain and often difficult to grasp… so my next step was to check out those gravesites, at Cheltenham Cemetery, which have been declared “Significant Places” in order to get a better understanding of how this “Significant Places Policy” has been applied, and actually works, in real life.

Once I’ve got this sorted, in my own head to the best of my ability, I will post here. In the meantime maybe you’d like to check the policy out for yourself and post some of your own ideas and thoughts in the comments section below.

Adelaide Cemeteries Authority “Significant Places Policy” (scroll down to pages 50-56)http://www.aca.sa.gov.au/Portals/0/Documents/Annual%20reports/ACEM%20997%20Cheltenham%20Report_full.w.pdf

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Copyright © 2014. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

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I am ashamed…

Map of Australia.Sth AustWith my head held high, I’ve always been most proud to be South Australian and enthralled by its uniqueness as a planned and free settlement. This dream of the “dissenters”, often called “The Paradise of Dissent” and “The Utopia of the South”,  was certainly not fulfilled as planned but,  nonetheless, South Australia has always been right at the forefront of social change. One prime example is being only second in the world, with New Zealand being the first, to grant women the right to vote and the very first in the world to allow women to stand for election to Parliament.

It is, therefore, with shame that I realise South Australia has also led the country in the desecration of the Burial Sites of our Pioneers, our Ancestors and our dearly departed.  No longer permitted to R.I.P. –  if the leases on their graves are not renewed the Cemetery claims ownership, buries strangers on top and, if family do not collect the memorials, they are disposed of in whichever way the authorities choose.

Headstone gone and strangers buried in the grave of:  Joseph Petter Bowen, Helen Leitia Bowen (nee Young), and Hilda Jane Bowen, Benjamin Clarence, Josephine Letitia and Estelle Maud Bowen, also memorial to Warwick Young Bowen AIF, who died in Cambridge, UK, in 1918

Headstone gone and strangers buried in the grave of: Joseph Petter Bowen, Helen Leitia Bowen (nee Young), and Hilda Jane Bowen, Benjamin Clarence, Josephine Letitia and Estelle Maud Bowen, also memorial to Warwick Young Bowen AIF, who died in Cambridge, UK, in 1918

Cheltenham isn’t the only cemetery which treats our Ancestors with such contempt.  Centennial Park, Dudley Park and Payneham are three others, that I know of, but there may be more. However Cheltenham is the only public cemetery, managed on behalf of all South Australians, who treats our Ancestors in this most disrespectful way.

The Adelaide Cemeteries Authority (ACA)  is a statutory authority of the State Government of South Australia and, since 2002, has been responsible for managing four cemeteries in the Adelaide metropolitan area—

*  West Terrace Cemetery, established in 1837, is a State Heritage Place (Register Number 12722).
*  Cheltenham Cemetery, established in 1876, originally owned and operated by the Port Adelaide Council.

*  Enfield Memorial Park, established in 1944, and commenced operations in 1947.

*  Smithfield Memorial Park, established in 1986 by the Northern Adelaide Regional Councils.

Cemeteries managed by the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority

Cemeteries managed by the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority

West Terrace Cemetery has, in the past, re-used graves but since receiving “State Heritage Listing”, because of rare indigenous plants growing within its grounds, the graves are protected.  I believe Enfield has also previously re-used graves, but stand to be corrected. In a phone call, a few weeks ago, I was informed that Enfield don’t re-use graves because “we have enough land.” Smithfield is way out in the northern suburbs, in a rather beautiful bushland setting, was only established in 1986 and seems to have huge amounts of excess land. They don’t re-use gravesites and disturb those who’ve been laid to R.I.P in their environs.

Book. Port  Adelaide. Mudflats to metropolisThe destruction of Cheltenham gravesites, and memorials, is the destruction of our history and a profound dishonouring of so very many of South Australia’s earliest Pioneers.  Cheltenham Cemetery is one of the oldest in the Adelaide metropolitan area, having commenced operations as the Port Adelaide and Suburban Cemetery on 27 July 1876 with the burial of Hannah Wheatley Mussared of Le Fevre Peninsula.

Port Adelaide is an historic area which was central to the colonization of South Australia dating right back to its inception in 1836 when Colonel William Light first sailed up the Port River. Port Adelaide has been the gateway to trade and commerce in the state and the first contact with South Australia for thousands of emigrants when they arrived by ship. Dr Susan Marsden points to the significance of the Port Adelaide region by describing it as:

“South Australia’s main port, its second city, and largest working-class district.”

Initially Cheltenham was the responsibility of the Port Adelaide Council, however, in 1987 this was passed over to the Enfield General Cemetery Trust on the understanding that it would be permitted to run the cemetery according to business principles and that gravesites, in the crowded cemetery, could be reused to provide funding for maintenance and further enhancements. It was a business decision.

Enfield General Cemetery Trust’s assumption of responsibility coincided with a series of State Government legislative reforms and Cheltenham became the first cemetery in Australia to redevelop expired burial sites. This was widely criticised by members of the public and the media and I well remember signing a petition, way back then, opposing this practice.

I would say that the interests of business still predominate in the continuing destruction of our heritage at Cheltenham Cemetery. The ACA Management plan reports,

At present, more than 40 per cent of all burials at Cheltenham Cemetery are in re-used sites. While the practice may be unpopular with some members of the community, it allows space for more than 300 interments each year and for the cemetery to continue to play an active role in meeting the needs of the local community.”

On page 7,  Adelaide Cemetery Authority also reports:

“The Authority provides more than 3,000 burial and cremation services annually, generating $8m in revenue that funds both operating expenses and capital development at our four cemeteries.”

So, who is responsible?… It is not the Cemetery management  nor the staff.  It is our South Australian Law which gives this practice the green light and our South Australian politicians are responsible for allowing it to continue. Many were hopeful the new South Australian “Burial and Cremations Act 2013” would bring an end to this practice but not so.

I’ve written previous about my distress at the destruction of “the final resting place” of so many of our Pioneers which you can read about HERE I also put this concern to the Attorney General, along with the expired leases at GX Section (click HERE to read) and received this response:

Response to my query from the Attorney General's Dept.

Response to my query from the Attorney General’s Dept.

I’ll be writing about this “Significant Places Policy” very soon. In the meantime you may like to read it for yourself on the “Adelaide Cemeteries Authority Management Plan.”   Just click HERE.

The best time to get politicians to listen to our concerns always is leading up to an Election.  As it happens, the South Australian electorate goes to the Polls in March… so we all have an opportunity to contact our local member, the opposition, the Greens, Nick Xenephon… whoever, and say  STOP THIS!!! … that’s if you have a mind to, of course.  Not trying to tell you what to do     😆

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Ancestors

Copyright © 2014. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

RESOURCES:

http://www.aca.sa.gov.au/Portals/0/Documents/Annual%20reports/ACEM%20997%20Cheltenham%20Report_full.w.pdf

http://www.portenf.sa.gov.au/page.aspx?u=339

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Plan for re-using Gravesites – Cheltenham Cemetery 2013-2018

Coming across my Great Grandmother’s grave with one of those horrid renewal notices on it, despite having paid her lease (including arrears), I was horrified that this should happen and was concerned for the descendants of all of those laid to R.I.P. in this section.  Had they been informed, had the information been published? etc…  For three months I tried in vain to get a response from the Records Department at Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia, as to the situation with these 400+ graves in GX section. All attempts to get a response failed which you can read about HERE.  As time began running out, and receiving no reply to my concern, I posted an alert that the Graves in GX were “about to be recycled” as this is how I understood the situation. You can read that post HERE.

Cheltenham Cemetery Plan show GX Section in bottom left hand corner.

Cheltenham Cemetery Plan show GX Section in bottom left hand corner.

What a relief it was to get an official response from the officer appointed by the Attorney General’s Office to investigate my queries.  Our Attorney General is responsible for overseeing the work of the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority (ACA), who manages Cheltenham on behalf of the South Australian Government.  It thankfully took only 6 weeks to receive a detailed, and most courteous response, to my queries.

Here is the reply to my major, and most urgent question, regarding the Graves in GX Section:

Response from the Attorney General's Office - 18 Nov 2013

Response from the Attorney General’s Office – 18 Nov 2013

How wonderful to finally get a reply, and to be directed, to the information I’d been seeking for almost 5 months. The “Cheltenham Cemetery Plan of Management” shows exactly those sections of the Cemetery where graves, with un-renewed leased, be re-used/re-cycled up to and including 2018.

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CHELTENHAM CEMETERY PLAN OF MANAGEMENT 2013 – 2018

http://www.aca.sa.gov.au/Portals/0/Documents/Annual%20reports/ACEM%20997%20Cheltenham%20Report_full.w.pdf

 

Cheltenham Cemetery – Plots to be re-used from 2013 to 2018

The Following paths in Cheltenham Cemetery have been identified to be redeveloped during the life of the plan to ensure the ongoing provision of burials plots.

2013/2014 (Year 1)
Section F Path 7(29) East & West
Section J Path 5(6) East & West
Section J Path 6(7) East & West
Section J Path 7(8) East & West
Section K Path 9(20) East & West
Section K Path 10(21) East & West 

2014/2015 (Year 2)
Section L Path 2(13) East & West
Section L Path 3(14) West only 

2015/2016 (Year 3)
Section F Path 6(28) East & West
Section L Path 3(14) East only
Section L Path 4(15) West only
Section L Path 5(16) East & West
Section L Path 6(17) West only 

2016/2017 (Year 4)
Section L Path 6(17) East only
Section L Path 7(18) East & West
Section L Path 8(19) West only 

2017/2018 (Year 5)
Section F Path 5(27) East & West
Section L Path 8(19) East only
Section L Path 9(20) East & West
Section L Path 10(21) East & West

(Page 39 of 70 pages)

The sections proposal for redevelopment at Cheltenham Cemetery during the life of this plan are marked on the aerial view below.

Cheltenham Cemetery - 5year plan for re-use of gravesite with expired leases

Cheltenham Cemetery – 5year plan for re-use of gravesite with expired leases

                        Cheltenham Cemetery Burial Sites Redevelopment Program 2013—2018

1 Cleared factory earmarked for residential development.
2 Site identified as potential offsite office and depot. Currently privately owned.
3 Existing Port Road house/office. Privately owned, potential relocation site for offices and workshop.
4 Existing workshop & staff facilities: Approx 375 Sq.M

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So, the plan is that the graves under threat this year – 2014/2015 (Year 2 ) are:
Section L Path 2(13) East & West
Section L Path 3(14) West only 

I was advised that

“The online listing of the sites flagged for redevelopment is current. The current listing of the Authority’s website was advertised in the Public Notices of the Advertiser on 30 January 2013…”

Gravesites planned to be re-used 2013-2014 and published on the ACA website

Gravesites planned to be re-used 2013-2014 and published on the ACA website

With the date given by the AG’s department of the advertising of expired grants for 2013-2014, and with the help of Nathan from The Advertiser, I finally managed to locate the Advertisement. Many thanks Nathan…

The Advertiser, Public Notices - 30 January 2013

The Advertiser, Public Notices – 30 January 2013

The advice from the Attorney General’s Department, 18 Nov 2013, is that
“…the next advertisement of expired grave sites will be in early 2014, at which time the website listing will be updated to reflect the new expired site/grant details.”

So, “keep your eyes peeled folks”… it will be published in the Public Notices of the Advertiser and is easy to miss.

computer reading orig

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Copyright © 2014. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Apologies folks for your “likes” not appearing.  It’s a bug in the system which WordPress are working hard to get sorted.  I’m having the same prob with some of your Blogs in that the like button is not working… it just reads “loading”. Very frustrating and hope they get it sorted soon. Cheerio for now…  

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Good-oil groves around graves…

West Terrace Cemetery,  referred to in the newspaper article below , is managed by the ACA (Adelaide Cemeteries Authority) on behalf of the South Australian Government which also manages the Cheltenham Cemetery.

There is, however, a huge difference between the two.  West Terrace Cemetery no longer re-cycles/ re-uses graves, as does Cheltenham,  because it has Heritage status. The graves at West Terrace receive this protection because of a rare indigenous plant growing in its surrounds, not because of the importance of the people interred there.

The gravesites at Cheltenham Cemetery,  whilst managed by the same organisation on behalf of the South Australian Government, are being recycled at an alarming rate with many of our “Portonians”  (Port Adelaide Pioneers) having strangers buried on top of them and their beautiful memorials removed.

It’s a heartbreak for many descendants returning, often from interstate or overseas, to find their Ancestors final resting place desecrated and demolished. It’s a disgrace that our history is being destroyed in this heartless and uncaring way.  We are told that people want to be buried near to where they live and so this is why, when the lease is not renewed, they re-use the graves.  This is simply not good enough…   It’s also said that it is necessary in order to have this money to maintain the Cemetery.  I say that there has to be a better way!!!

Please click on the link below to read the article.  Many thanks.

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Crout-Habel


The Advertiser
30 Dec 2013
          

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Hundreds of Graves about to be “recycled”…

UPDATE:-  I finally got some answers to my questions.  Whilst most of the leases have expired, this area is not due for “re-development”, re-use/ re-cycling of the graves, before 2018. More about this in a follow up post to be published shortly.

19 January 2014  – The update to this post can be viewed HERE

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I come to you with great sadness in my heart. Do you have family laid to rest in the Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia?

Cemeteries. Cheltenham. expired leases.17Sep2013Right there on the corner of Port Road and Chippenham Street, Cheltenham is Section GX in our South Australia’s Cheltenham Cemetery and over 400 gravesites there are about to be/ or have already reverted to the control of the “Adelaide Cemeteries Authority” because their leases have not been renewed.

Many years of family history research resulted in me finally finding that my Great Grandmother was laid to R.I.P. in this GX Section at Cheltenham.  I’ve now paid almost $1000 to keep her in the ground, and her burial place undisturbed, but this will run out in 7 years time and, despite paying out all this money, I still have no control over her gravesite. i.e. I am unable to tidy up the grave and/ or fix a memorial for her because I do not hold the lease. My Great Uncle who died way long ago is the person named as holding the lease and trying to find his descendants, to ask for them to sign the lease over to me, is like “trying to find a needle in a haystack” .  However, that is another story, for another time.

What a shock it was when visiting the many “rellies” in Cheltenham Cemetery, just a few months ago, to ensure that they were all still tucked up safe and sound, tidy up their graves etc… to discover that this same Great Grandmother’s gravesite had one of these horrific recycle notes stuck to it.

Eventually the Records Department, of the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority, advised in writing that it was a mistake and the sign had been removed. All well and good but when visiting Grannie I saw that almost every grave, on both sides of that pathway, also had these warning notes stuck to them.  I kept trying to shut out this information but eventually did have to go back and have another look. To my horror, I discovered that nearly every Grave in the GX section has a “lease expiry” notice affixed.

Whilst absolutely disagreeing with the re-cycling of graves I do accept that, according to our South Australian Law at the present time, this is possible. What bothers me about these Graves in GX is that I’m unsure if the Policy of the  “Adelaide Cemeteries Authority” has been followed.  It sure was not followed in the case of my Great Grannie’s gravesite.  At no time did I receive a letter advising of an expired lease… nor, despite my close scrutiny of the South Australian print media, did I see anywhere advertised the lapsed leases/ grants of the GX Section at Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia. I’m happy to be corrected with clear evidence to the contrary.

Furthermore, some of the information online re: the re-development of Cheltenham Cemetery is so out of date that it’s almost laughable… if we weren’t crying so much.

The South Australian Government is responsible for ensuring that the Board of the “Adelaide Cemeteries Authority” does their work in making sure that their employees follow the policy.  I am expecting that our Attorney General, John Rau, will direct his employees to investigate my concerns with the utmost of expediency… because once these graves are gone, they can not be replaced.

Hopefully my worries will be proven to be unfounded.

If you have family buried in the Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia… please do not hesitate to contact the records team at the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority to check out the security of their gravesite(s).  The email is:   records@aca.sa.gov.au

To search the records yourself, just click on this link:
http://www.aca.sa.gov.au/RecordsSearch.aspx

Further Information about Cheltenham Cemetery can be found here:
http://www.aca.sa.gov.au/Ourcemeteries/CheltenhamCemetery.aspx

UPDATE:
GOOD NEWS!!! I’ve just, finally, received information that the ACA do not intend to
re-cycle the graves in GX in the near future (y) However the leases HAVE expired and to retain ownership these need to be renewed.  4 Oct 2013

FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR “REDEVELOPMENT” PLAN WILL BE PUBLISHED SOON… Cheers.

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

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Trying to get some answers…

Cheltenham Cemetery, here in South Australia,  is one where the recycling/ renewal of graves, because the leases/ grants have expired, seems to be progressing at an alarming rate.  Three months ago I was shocked to discover that the grave of my Great Grandmother, whose lease is still current, had one of those horrid expiry notices on it.

19 Jan 2014 – Please note that an update to this post can be viewed HERE

The on-line record shows that the lease is indeed still current but had I not paid a timely visit to check on my many “rellies”,  laid to RIP at Cheltenham, I would never have know that Eliza Jane’s sacred place had been marked for destruction.

Well, after a considerable amount of persistence the Records Department finally confirmed, in writing, that a mistake had indeed been made and the expiry sign removed.  However, other information I’d requested  e.g. when was the notice of the expired leases published and why had I not received a letter advising of Great Grannie’s “expired” lease was never answered. My last email advised that because I had been unable to receive a response my only choice now was to take it to a “higher authority”.

Time passes, other matters demand priority and on coming back to look into this niggling problem other inconsistencies appeared, especially those related to the relevance of the on-line information provided by the “Adelaide Cemeteries Authority” on expired leases/ grants. Most outstanding is this list which made me think that there were only a relatively few graves under threat right now.

However, on closer examination it became very clear that most of these burial sites have been “re-developed” already and, it would seem, that those remaining are so “chocka block full” with at least 2, 3 and sometimes 4 previous family burials that it’d be pretty jolly difficult to shove another person into this relatively small space. So, just a few days ago, I did take the matter to a “higher authority” as I’d already advised.
(Please see the correction in the update below)

When sorting through the on-line information it doesn’t take long to work out that the responsiblity for Cheltenham Cemetery, West Tce, Enfield and Smithfield is that of the South Australian Government. In 2001 the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority Act was passed and the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority Governance Board was formed and is answerable to the SA Government re: the management of these 4 cemeteries through the Hon Gail Gago MLC.

Further checking shows, on the website for our South Australian Premier, that The Honourable Gail Gago MLC is indeed “Minister for State/ Local Government”, so all is looking “okey dory” I reckon.  However, today I was advised by the office of Ms Gago that this is not her responsibility and so my request has been passed onto the Attorney General, John Rau.

Phew… sounds a bit like another  “groundhog day” to me cos I’ve sure been down this path before with “Parliamentary bureaucracy”.  Hopefully it’s just a hiccup, a mistake, a mixup and very soon I’ll get my request passed onto the relevant person before another South Australian grave is “recycled” …  possibly without the knowledge of the descendants.

Maybe I’ve got this wrong and maybe I’ve mixed up my facts?… if so, I’m very happy to stand corrected.

Any ideas/ suggestions as to how best move forward ensuring that those whom have Ancestors laid to R.I.P. in South Australian cemeteries are at least given the best opportunity possible to preserve their Heritage, Family History and Sacred Spaces are most welcome. Thanks.

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5 Oct 2013 – UPDATE

 Well things certainly have been happening real fast around here, in the last 24 hours, and at last some information from the ACA has come to me, albeit in a rather round about way, but “beggars can’t be choosers” I reckon, and sure am smilin’   😆

It’s been made clear that the names on this list are of the person who owns the lease/ grant, not the person whose gravesite it is.  This means that  when doing a search on that person’s name and it shows the site has been redeveloped it’s referring to the burial site of the grant holder in another part of the Cemetery.  It seems that none of the gravesites on this list have yet been “re-developed” which is good to know. I draw you attention to the advice on the notice above.

“Please note that correspondence must be received by the Authority within six months of this notice appearing otherwise the site will revert to the control of the Authority and will be subject to redevelopment.”

So, if you know someone who is related to any of the Grant Holders named above, or who know the person buried in the Allotment, please let them know that the lease has expired.

I certainly was confused, as were many others, and it’s something to keep in mind when providing the Government with feedback on the writing of the regulations which will clarify exactly how the new “Burial and Cremations Act” will be enacted.

Many  thanks to the person who provided this information. It’s a shame she does not want her name mentioned but I do respect this wish.

~~~~~~~~~

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

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