GRAVES at a Coventry cemetery have been submerged after recent heavy rainfall – despite £150,000 being spent on drainage since 2014.
Grieving families and those paying respects have been greeted by water-logged graves at Lentons Lane cemetery.
Coventry City Council has apologised to residents affected and has reassured them they are working to resolve the situation.
It also says it cannot guarantee flooding will not occur again in the future.
Lentons Lane has been particularly badly affected while St Paul’s, Walsgrave and Canley have also seen flooding.
In recent years, hundreds of residents have called on the council to strengthen flood defences after cemeteries continue to suffer persistent water-logging.
Initial works to improve drainage at Lentons Lane were completed in 2015 and included the construction of roadways, utility systems, buildings including toilet facilities and drainage systems.
The total cost of the first phase of the ‘Lentons Lane Project’ was just over £700,000 of which approximately £50,000 was allocated to drainage costs.
In 2014, as a separate scheme, drainage was installed over the area occupied by graves at a cost of £25,000.
Last year, the council says four drainage sumps were installed at a cost of £75,000 and a further sump will be installed this year.
Despite these measures, the risk of flooding remains a very real possibility and residents are angry at continued problems during periods of the year with heavy rainfall.
The council plans to start the next phase of the project “possibly over the next two years.”
It says the scheme will extend Lentons Lane Cemetery and include drainage, construction of roads and paths, bin area and sitting area.
A spokesperson said it is anticipated the scheme will cost in the region of £1million.
But the council does not yet know much the drainage element will cost.
A spokesperson for Coventry council said: “Unfortunately the very wet weather has affected some areas of Lentons Lane and other cemeteries in the city.
“In the first five weeks of spring there has been more than 220 per cent more rainfall than normal – with a particularly heavy and prolonged spell of rain over recent days – which has led to problems with surface water and normal drainage.
“We are sorry for any upset caused, but would like to reassure people that our staff are working to clear all affected areas as soon as possible.
“Staff were at Lentons Lane at the weekend to try and pump as much water away as possible and that work will continue this week. They will also be clearing surface water at St Paul’s, Walsgrave and Canley cemeteries.
“We have been putting measures in place to reduce the impact of flooding at Lentons Lane, but the area continues to be prone to water logging. This has been made worse by the recent wet weather.
“We are tackling this by monitoring the site daily and using pumps to remove surface water, where we can.
“We have recently spent £75,000 putting drainage into different areas of the cemetery and will be digging more surface channels to move water away and continue to top up soil and turf some areas.
“As part of plans to expand the cemetery, we will also put in significant drainage to the new sections.
“Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that this won’t happen again in the future, but we will continue to monitor and make improvements where we can.”