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Toppling tombstones a danger in Newmarket cemetery and could cost council £20,000 to make safe

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Toppling gravestones and memorials in Newmarket cemetery could cost a council up to £20,000 to make safe.

At a meeting on Monday, members of the town council’s community and leisure services committee heard that, following an interim inspection of part of the cemetery, it was clear many of the memorials needed work.

The council has already bought a strapping machine to carry out immediate safety work where needed and where possible will contact memorial owners to do repairs, but where that is not possible it becomes the council’s responsibility and the cost for the old stones is likely to be around £3,000 each.

Newmarket Cemetery. Picture Mark Westley
Newmarket Cemetery. Picture Mark Westley

Detailed inspections of the stones is set to start in April and 30 at a time will be looked at.

“I would not be able to hazard a guess as to how many unsafe stones there might be,” said town clerk Cathy Whitaker.

Councillors agreed to earmark £20,000 for the work, which will see a 19 per cent increase in the council’s community and leisure services budget for 2021/22.