Lisburn City Council has apologised to residents for any disruption that is likely to take place while work is carried out to make way for up to 780 new graves at Lisburn New Cemetery.
Their apology comes after a woman, who visited her father’s grave on Sunday said she was angered at the state of the graveyard.
The woman attended her father’s grave on Sunday on the eve of his 15th anniversary to find debris from cut down trees and bushes around the grave.
When she contacted the council she was told the council had to cut trees down to make way for an extension to the cemetery and that it was virtually impossible to contact all families who have plots to warn them.
She was also told that there were plans to move the benches, to make way for a footpath but that had been halted “What has annoyed me is that my family were not consulted,” she said. “Surely, the council have our contact details on record somewhere. We placed a £500 bench and we had to donate this to the council - surely they coulc let us know of their plans. They should have approached one of us to let us know or warn us that this was happening.
“I found the whole thing just really upsetting. Even if they had put an advertisement in the paper that would have been ok.”
A spokesperson for Lisburn City Council, “Initial work is being carried out in preparation for additional graves to be made available in the future, to the public, within the existing Lisburn New Cemetery.
“At present there are a number of areas within the Cemetery where trees are being removed for enabling work to take place. Once this work has been completed, the Council will undertake a procurement exercise and it is anticipated that work on site will begin in the Autumn.
“The Council is intending to make provision for 780 additional graves. While the Council is acutely aware of the sensitivities of such work, the additional grave provision is necessary to serve the needs of the wider community and would apologise for any disruption caused during this work.
“Going forward, while trees have had to be removed, the Council is planning on a replanting scheme of hedging in keeping with the cemetery surroundings.
“Out of respect for those families who purchased memorial benches, any landscaping will be designed so as to ensure the benches remain in their original location.”