Warning to residents: Fenland District Council has resumed its Doddington churchyard dismantling scheme (updated)

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Doddington Churchyard

Doddington’s Doings has learned that Fenland District Council has resumed the safety scheme in Doddington churchyard that almost led to the dismantling of two historically significant memorials earlier in the year.
The original scheme in late March resulted in a number of nineteenth century memorials being ‘laid down’ (such as the tall Wigginton memorial which was significantly dismantled), and after dismayed residents voiced their objections, the scheme was ‘suspended’ and two memorials were fenced off.
However, in the last fortnight or so, the scheme has resumed – and this time in a newer part of the churchyard.
Around 40 memorials have been marked as ‘unsafe’ in the last two weeks (primarily in the area of the churchyard pictured above), with some of the marked memorials dating from as recently as 1992.
In the past, a memorial with a safety tag on it meant it was scheduled to be dismantled (or ‘laid down’) within a matter of days or weeks. A spokesperson for Fenland District Council backed away from the dismantling part of the safety scheme, and in a brief response to the Doings about the recent markings, said “no [memorials] are scheduled to be dismantled”. We have sent further questions, and will update this article if any responses are received.
The marked memorials are dedicated to people with the following surnames (some have multiple memorials marked): Alderson, Behagg, Butcher, Butler, Catling, Clapham, Cornish, Creber, Dack, Davies, Dawson, Giddings, Gravenall, Grey, Hardy, Hatch, Heaps, High, Kingham, Machin, Miller, Redhead, Richards, Shelley, Southon, Stewart, Thompson,  Tuddenham, Upchurch, Venni, Welcher and Wright.
One resident told the Doings: “I saw evidence of this when I went to tend our family graves. I find it disgusting that the council are doing this, the churchyard looks awful now with all the gravestones stickered with white cards or dismantled and lying on the ground.”
If you know anyone who may want to be made aware about the safety scheme (especially if they have a surname listed above), please contact them as soon as possible.
Any concerned parties should contact Fenland District Council about the memorial safety/dismantling scheme by phone (01354 654321) or email (streetscene@fenland.gov.uk).
Meanwhile, investigations are being conducted by sources close to the Doings to see when Fenland District Council has the authority to conduct safety checks in the affected parts of Doddington churchyard.
If you want more information about a marked memorial and cannot visit Doddington churchyard, send an email for more specific information of each surname listed above. More information is not listed to respect the privacy of those affected.


05/08/2014: A spokesperson for Fenland District Council told the Doings this morning:
“As you are aware, Fenland District Council is in the process of inspecting all memorials in the cemeteries and churchyards that they maintain, and noting any that are found to be unstable.
 Within the memorial section, which the Church maintains, we have also inspected approximately one third of these and have attached a notice on a number of such memorials found that require attention.
 I have today spoken with the Church Warden, who has provided two phone numbers for those affected to contact.
 The Fenland District Council notices we have in place will be changed shortly to reflect these two contact numbers.
 Those phone numbers are: 01354 740 522 and 01354 741 533
 We will not be undertaking any fixing or laying of these memorials, unless the church makes a request to Fenland District Council to do such work. It will be for the church to decide a way forward for these memorials, [and] in the first instance it is the owner’s responsibility to make safe.
 The Fenland District Council can provide the service of fixing or laying flat at the churches request or the owners of the memorial request. The owner or the church can also get a local stonemason to provide the same service.”

– TL


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