May 20 2013 Latest news:
Max Walters, Reporter
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Relatives claim Brent Council is disrespecting the dead
A grieving son has slammed Brent Council, claiming they have showed disregard for the dead by employing digger truck drivers who are desecrating graves in a cemetery.
Maxwell Glengall has told the Times that the trucks are continuously driven around and over graves in Willesden New Cemetery as they try to dig new spaces.
But he says they are carelessly knocking off parts of headstones and even driving over graves, due to overcrowding.
Mr Glengall, who lives close to the cemetery, off Franklyn Road, has argued that the council should instead employ manual diggers.
“The cemetery is quite overcrowded and sometimes they take the corners off graves, breaking the tombstones. Some of the graves that have been there for years are completely crushed,” he said.
Mr Glengall, whose mother has been buried in the cemetery since July 2012, added that he was also concerned at the dirt tracks being left by the diggers which have made much of the area inaccessible.
He said: “The ground and grass hasn’t been treated or rebuilt and tracks are clearly visible in the earth.
“I’m very worried that my mother’s grave is going to be badly treated and worry about those people who have gone to visit their loved ones and found damage to their graves. How must they feel?
“Is this how council cemeteries are run? I thought it was at least 100 years before a site was retired for re-use. How can it have gone so far downhill?”
A spokesman for Brent Council said they “sincerely regretted any upset” but that they were similar to all other councils in using diggers to excavate graves. He added that it was “a much safer option for staff” and saved time.
He said: “We try very hard not to disturb existing graves during this process but when this does happen, we aim to restore everything to its original place as soon as possible after the works have been completed.
“If the grave is still owned we will repair any damage to the grave or headstone that may have been caused during the moving process.
“We sincerely regret any upset this has caused for other cemetery users.”