The entrance to Spalding Cemetery in Pinchbeck Road.

Cemetery hours extended

Spalding Cemetery is open for almost all of its normal hours now, following a period of closure and then reduced opening hours.

The cemetery was closed to the public during the coronavirus outbreak despite a number of complaints from people wishing to visit and tend the graves of their loved ones.

At the central government coronavirus briefing on April 18, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick asked councils to keep open or reopen, cemeteries and graveyards, saying it’s important for people to be able to make private visits and seek solace at the graves or to lay flowers.

Despite this advice, on April 21, SHDC told The Voice that the cemetery would not be reopening.

However on April 24, the council changed its stance and said following changes to government regulation, the cemetery would reopen on April 27.

The cemetery was operating on reduced hours with the council stating issues with anti-social behaviour the reason behind it.

Gates were open from 9am to 2pm Monday to Friday, rather than its normal hours of Monday to Sunday 9am to 6.30pm.

But from Monday (May 18) the cemetery has been open from 9am-6.30pm. At weekends, the hours will be 10am-6.30pm.

The extended hours are on the basis of people adhering to government guidance on distancing and restrictions on movement.

The key decision notice posted on the council’s website states there have been no reported incidents since the opening and that the reduced hours were recommended so that staff could be in the cemetery during this time and can monitor the adherence to the regulations.

Consideration was given to leaving the cemetery hours as they were or closing it again but this was not deemed appropriate given that there have not been re-occurrences of anti-social behaviour.

The council states that the change of weekend hours is to align with the clocks changing, which will make attending the cemetery safer.

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