10:00am Wednesday 10th April 2013
Sir – On Easter Monday, I attempted to speak to the mayor of Witney on BBC Radio Oxford about the problems caused by the decision to ban cars from Tower Hill Cemetery (Gazette, March 27), particularly for the elderly and disabled.
This is not, I quote “a storm in a teacup stirred up by one person”, as was suggested by the mayor a short while after I went ‘off-air’.
There are some points I believe the council must answer:
1. The disabled should not have to go cap-in-hand to ask for a pre-arranged appointment to visit the cemetery. Most of the disabled people we come into contact with (my husband being one and I am his full-time carer) just want to be able to live their lives, doing as many as possible of those everyday tasks that we able-bodied take for granted. They will ask for help when needed and appreciate understanding of their situation. This also applies to the elderly.
2. The elderly are also being overlooked. There is no car park and so many times when we have been tending my husband’s parents’ graves, have we witnessed a daughter/son bring their remaining parent to visit the graveside of their dearly departed. It is so cruel to stop this from happening. The elderly cannot apply for a pre-arranged appointment. They and the disabled are being treated as second-class citizens now. So much for David Cameron’s Big Society.
3. The mayor said that new contractors are now employed at Tower Hill Cemetery. So I respectfully suggest that a compromise be put in operation: the gates are open to all Monday to Friday, 10am-3pm (funerals apart) and then employees working up there can keep an eye on things and the same opening times as before, 11am-1pm, on the first and third Saturday of each month.
4. If the gates remain closed, where will visitors park their cars? There is no room in Curbridge Road, added to which the entrance to the cemetery is on the brow of a hill on a very busy road.
5. I fully appreciate Oxford Hill Cemetery is a new cemetery and has purpose-built facilities, which include reasonable access for all, and so it should do. However, please do not make life even more difficult for those who visit Tower Hill Cemetery.
Everyone needs, time, peace and the ability to come to terms with their bereavements without restrictions.
This is unethical, immoral and discriminatory against the disabled and elderly.
Christine Jones, Minster Lovell
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