Kevin Crook, Head of Neighbourhoods, introduced the report and responded to questions as below:
· The first out-of-tenure memorial benches on the right hand side of the main road were removed on 28 March 2018 and further removals would be carried out by Community Payback going forward. Benches would be labelled and stored in Lambeth Cemetery’s depot for one year, in case of complaints, and notices would be placed on those where ownership was uncertain.
· The grass was still fairly short due to poor growing conditions so far this year, but cutting would restart during the next weeks.
· The team had expanded on the scrub clearance from last winter and had now cleared most of the area behind the Catacombs and on the south side of Ship Path, with the volunteers to hopefully clear up leftover debris, litter, and monuments under guidance.
· The grounds maintenance team were removing conifers over 6ft high from over graves and had undertaken some epicormic growth removal.
· Plaques and information boards were to be placed close to some of the more interesting and significant trees to increase interpretation and interest, as one of the London in Bloom requirements, and were liaising with the Capital Project so that such highlighted trees were not felled.
· The first volunteer party was rescheduled for 14 April, with Beth Cross also looking to instigate a weekday session to attract a different audience. Robert Holden asked that Beth Cross be invited to the next MAG, but she would be attending the Open Day, public consultations and other events.
· Community Payback had been tasked on their Wednesday sessions to clear debris from the depot and memorial bases, litter picking, clearing the boundary wall gullies and other duties as directed.
· Officers were procuring new CCTV to install around the depot area, where anti-social behaviour and vandalism often took place, with additional cameras by the entrance to improve coverage. These cameras would have infra-red systems, be motion-activated, and linked to officers’ phones.
· Approval had been received to recruit the two vacant positions in Bereavement Services, with the Cemetery and Crematoria officer position live and the Supervisor position to be advertised soon. It was hoped to attract someone already qualified for the former position, as a second crematoria officer was needed.
· The Maintenance team structure chart (agenda pack, page 17) noted that a further seasonal officer was needed between April-October.
· The directorate restructure consultation was due to end on 09 April 2018, and was expected to include two extra posts in Bereavement Services and two seasonal officers to shorten the grass cutting cycle to 5-6 weeks. If approved, recruitment for these positions was expected in June.
· Attendees were asked to raise questions regarding the location of benches with Jacqueline Landy.
· It was noted that memorial trees had not been planted in specific locations, records were sparse, but – as far as could be ascertained – all would run their 25-year tenure unless dangerous. Any questions on specific trees were to be directed to Kevin Crook.
· Robert Holden drew attention to a film script found in the cemetery and during discussion it was noted that only commercial filming ventures needed to apply for a license to film in the cemetery. Others could file as long as there was no disturbance to graves, grave owners, or mourners at funerals.
The Chair thanked Kevin Crook for his ongoing work and cemetery upkeep, including the substantial work carried out over winter which had made a significant impact.