Bereaved family members in dispute with council over £180 grave plaque fee
- Credit: Archant
A bereaved son and daughter say they are unable to mark their parents’ legacy because Fenland District Council will not allow them to glue a “meaningful” plaque to their grave without paying a £180 fee.
Anthony Cox and Pauline Smith, the descendants of Charles and Vera Cox, who are both buried in Eastwood Cemetery, March, say they “cannot seem to get a resolution”.
Mr Cox said in a letter to Fenland District Council: “I have been informed that I would need to pay a fee of £180 for the plaques which would under normal circumstances then be passed to a recognised stonemason in payment for making the plaque.
“It all seems to be about fees and current regulations and not about what we the customer actually wants on a grave to mark our parents passing,” he added.
The plaque, which Mr Cox has had made privately, “reflects entirely my whole families wishes. It is made of granite and is A4 size and approximately a quater of an inch thick.
“It merely needs gluing to the slab that is currently my parents’ legacy,” he said.
Fenland District Council however said their position has been misunderstood.
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“We have no objection to the plaques that Mr Cox and his sister wish to place on their parents’ grave. Nor have we refused their application.
“We have made it clear that they do need to pay the £180 fee. This does not go to the stonemason for making the plaques.
“Rather, it is our standard fee for erecting a tablet or monument. It is to cover the costs of administration, including checking all the necessary documentation, and to help pay for all cemetery inspections.
“We did write to Mr Cox in April to explain this.
“We will be contacting the family again in the next few days to try to clear up any confusion and enable them to go ahead with putting the two plaques in place.”
Mr Cox says he has spoken to a local stonemason who is prepared to do the work for him and, in a letter addressed to FDC’s bereavement team, said: “The plaques would never be a danger to anybody as they sit at ground level.
“I now seek from you a definitive way forward to allow me to have these inoffensive and meaningful plaques laid to signify my parents passing.
“I do not wish to pay any fee of £180 to any of your departments for whatever reason as I already have the very tasteful and professionally finished items complete with gold leaf lettering and weather proofing without going to the immense cost of a stonemason.
“I would hope that this is dealt with in the fastest possible manner so that we can all finally rest after such a tragic year.”