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Grave compromise could be on the cards

HOPE AT HAND ... Joe Grant beside his wifes grave.

HOPE AT HAND ... Joe Grant beside his wifes grave.

HOPES are rising that a long-running grave dispute between a widower and South Tyneside Council can be resolved amicably.

Joe Grant, 85, laid 80-year-old wife Blanche to rest at Harton Cemetery in South Shields back in June 2012.

Mr Grant, of Gosforth Avenue in the town, had spent more than a decade caring for his dementia-stricken wife and, as a tribute, purchased a 5ft-long ornamental surround for her grave.

But South Tyneside Council wants the size of the surround reduced – as there is a 3ft limit on the length of ‘ornamental gardens’ in that part of the cemetery.

Mr Grant, who has fought the ruling for almost two years, has been told to reduce the surround’s size within weeks – or face the authority doing the work for him.

Now a meeting with a council bereavement officer is to be staged at Blanche’s grave in the cemetery in a bid to resolve the issue.

Mr Grant said: “I’ll listen to what the council has to say, but my view remains the same – the surround is my tribute to Blanche and should not be reduced.

“As I’ve said, there are surrounds in other parts of the cemetery of similar size, and they haven’t been removed.”

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “We appreciate this is a sensitive issue and have tried to work with Mr Grant to resolve it. A member of our bereavement services team has offered to meet Mr Grant at Harton Cemetery to discuss the situation informally.

“The council has a responsibility to ensure the cemetery’s regulations are followed so the area can be properly maintained and accessible to everyone.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul

 

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