Chiefs working to find 'sensitive solution' to flooding problems at Jarrow Cemetery

Council officers are developing a new project aiming to find a “sensitive solution” to flooding issues at Jarrow Cemetery.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 7:20 am
The flooding in Jarrow Cemetery last winter
The flooding in Jarrow Cemetery last winter

South Tyneside Council and Northumbrian Water attended the scene to deal with flooding and investigate the causes of the issue.

Although new drainage had been put in at the site in recent years, it was unable to cope with the amount of rainfall which caused ‘ponding’.

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The flooding in Jarrow Cemetery last winter

At a council meeting this week, council officers said they were working with a specialist consultant in flood mitigation to get to the root of the problem.

This includes desktop studies looking at historic groundwater levels, geology, historic mapping and more.

While a number of long-term flood mitigation options are available to the council, the final proposal will depend on the results of investigations due to the site’s sensitive location.

In addition, ‘semi-permanent’ flood mitigation could be put in place at the cemetery to provide protection as the project progresses.

The update on Jarrow Cemetery was given at South Tyneside Council’s Place Select Committee at South Shields Town Hall on June 22.

Results from the desktop studies are expected in mid-July which will indicate the positions of the next stage, including ‘intrusive’ works to allow for further assessments.

High-level plans and possible solutions to flooding at the cemetery are expected by the end of the year.

Physical works at the site would need permissions from the council’s bereavement services team and the diocese.

Councillor Geraldine Kilgour, who chairs the Place Select Committee, said it was important to keep the committee and public updated on the works.

“Certainly from my perspective, I think we have got to get communication really right on this,” she said.

“It’s absolutely key and probably one of the most emotive matters that we can discuss."

She added: “I would like to thank [council officers] for working with the Friends of Jarrow Cemetery Group with this, but also with our community.

“Because you could never have drained that water away quick enough, it was so very distressing.

“My main question is that when a solution is found, there is the funding set aside to be able to carry this out.”

Neil Govett, building and compliance manager at South Tyneside Council, said the scheme would not be a “quick or simple project.”

But he stressed that finding a “sensitive solution” to the flooding issues was a priority.

“[The project] needs to be done, everybody is aware that it needs to be done and a department will be found to do it,” he added.

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