7th Dec, 2016

Work continues as Coventry Council clears flood-hit Lenton's Lane Cemetery

Coventry Editorial 20th Jan, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

WATER-removal tankers have rolled into a Hawkesbury cemetery after more than 800 grieving residents called on Coventry City Council to fix flooding which has left loved ones’ graves submerged under inches of water.

Just two years after Council chiefs pledged £2million to improve drainage and build a new entrance to the Lenton’s Lane Cemetery, devastated relatives have launched a fresh petition after ‘insufficient drainage’ has left ground waterlogged and some graves inaccessible.

The flooding, which the Council blames on ‘recent wet weather’,is the latest in a string of annual floods at the cemetery, which signatories claim has not been remedied in spite of the multi-million pound Council investment.

The petition launched on www.ipetitions.com on Monday (January 18) reads: “This cemetery should be a peaceful and tranquil place where people can visit their loved ones in their final resting place. Instead they are subjected to the annual flood due to insufficient drainage, poor maintenance and bad management.

“Losing a loved one is distressing enough without the fact that you are expected to lay them to rest in these conditions, furthermore too that it appears you will be subjected to this annually by the looks of it.”

Signatories, including the mother of murdered Coventry teenager Daniel Kirkwood, claim graves are ‘totally waterlogged’ while others say the mud has prevented them from laying flowers or paying their respects over the Christmas period.

And with some paying a hefty price tag for a plot in the graveyard, others argue the money spent should go towards helping the ongoing drainage issues.

Since the petition’s launch, Council operatives at the site have brought in high-powered suction tankers to get rid of some of the water, and have laid all-weather boards to help relatives walk across the boggy ground to reach loved ones’ graves.

The Council’s assistant director for green space, Andrew Walster, said while work had been carried out to rectify flooding issues, he accepted they may not be able to fix the problem entirely.

He added: “We apologise that the site is not in the condition we want and expect it to be in.

“We have had unprecedented wet weather recently and, even with the world’s best drainage system, we would have struggled to keep it in a condition people want to see when they visit.

“We’ll continue to investigate pumping, drainage and raising levels over the next few years. But I don’t think we can give a commitment that we will stop any flooding on that site again.

“We’ll continue to do our best to improve the situation and we thank families for their patience while we’re working on that.”