New policy unveiled for commemorative benches across district
- Credit: Mick Howes
A council has introduced a new policy for commemorative benches in East Suffolk.
Applications are now open for people to sponsor a new bench on land owned by East Suffolk Council.
The service allows people to sponsor seating at locations in the district to remember a friend, relative or colleague who has passed away.
People can now sponsor a new bench with a commemorative plaque for a period of 10 years in numerous locations on council land, mainly replacing existing benches that are coming to an end of practical use.
Those who choose to commemorate someone in this way will also be encouraged to not attach any additional items to the benches.
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A council spokesman said: "Unfortunately, these items, which can often include flowers, wreaths and balloons, can either prevent people from sitting, or make them feel uncomfortable about doing so.
"Items can sometimes be left for a long period of time and can also cause environmental issues, particularly if they are not degradable."
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With this in mind, the council is now asking people to collect and take care of any items that they may have placed on benches on council land, which they would like to keep.
Craig Rivett, East Suffolk Council's cabinet member with responsibility for assets, said: "We fully understand that people want something to remember loved ones by and commemorative benches are a special way to keep a memory alive as a place to sit and reflect.
“However, the adorning of benches with a variety of items sadly does cause problems.
"The main purpose of the benches is for seating and we do need to be fair and consistent about how we treat this matter throughout East Suffolk.
"We hope people understand and, of course, we would welcome people who have placed things on benches to claim them and to take care of them personally.
"With this in mind we are respectfully asking for items to be taken home by the end of July."
To view the new policy or sponsor a commemorative bench visit www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/community/cemeteries-and-burials/