World News

Trainee grave diggers ruin ‘irreplaceable’ beauty spot after council ‘mix-up’

A council has issued a grovelling apology after trainee grave-diggers ruined an "irreplaceable" protected beauty spot following a "communication error".

Mendip District Council claimed the workers "misunderstood" when asked to use a cemetery for training instead.

Somerset locals were left furious when they dug up an area nearby which the authority has agreed not to build on in Easthill, Frome.

Mark Player, a member of the Friends of Easthill, told the BBC he had found the gravediggers practising on the site on January 28.

He said the field was "protected and enhanced for its irreplaceable ecological value" to Frome and the group had been left "very upset" by the damage.

"We feel passionately about this field because it's not just a bit of agricultural land that has been intensively farmed – it hasn't been touched by human development at all," he said.

"When we asked, we were told that they couldn't dig on plots."

The local authority agreed to pause a plan to build 77 houses on the site in November which has been subject to recent "robust discussions".

  • Grieving family hit with £500 care home bill after dad dies 'without notice' from Covid

A council spokesperson said the contractors had been asked to dig within the boundaries of Easthill Cemetery.

They said the instruction was "misunderstood" but that the council was "satisfied this was simply a communication error with no malintent, albeit with significant consequences".

A spokesman said: "Bereavement is a statutory service. When we received word from our specialist training company they had a cancellation, we took them up on the offer of a slot.

  • Grieving mum pays emotional tribute to daughter killed by deadly drug cocktail

"There are significant health and safety requirements associated with grave digging, and extra training was essential.

"Previous training sessions have been completed at a number of council-owned cemeteries across the district. But burial services were, unfortunately, taking place in Mendip cemeteries.

"It was clearly inappropriate to conduct training at a location where a grieving family would be saying their goodbyes to a loved one. Given the short notice, Easthill Cemetery was our only available location.

  • Mystery field marks that left farmers baffled turns out to be quad bike riders

"Instruction was provided by our bereavement team to the contractor, to conduct the session on a section of land within the boundaries of Easthill Cemetery.

"However, this instruction was misunderstood, and they undertook the first stage of the training on land to the north of Easthill – a site which has been subject to robust discussions in recent weeks.

"Having reviewed the situation and discussed the matter with all parties involved, we are satisfied this was simply a communication error with no malintent, albeit with significant consequences.

"As soon as we were made aware of the miscommunication, we worked quickly to make safe the space, remove the team, and ensured the second days training was completed at a different location within the cemetery boundary.

"The space has since been secured and communications have been issued to those who contacted us about the matter."

Officials say the space has since been made safe and a second day's training was held within the cemetery.

Source: Read Full Article