Hartlepool cemetery flooding will be solved, says council

Waterlogged graves in Stranton Cemetery have caused upset for relatives of those laid to rest there.
Waterlogged graves in Stranton Cemetery have caused upset for relatives of those laid to rest there.

A flood-hit cemetery will remain in the spotlight until a solution is found, town leaders have pledged.

Families reacted with anger after the grounds of Stranton Cemetery filled with water in the wake of the recent heavy snowfall and rain - leaving its plots deluged with up to 6in of water.

We want to get this put right and it is not going to be a quick fix or a cheap option, and neither should it be.

Councillor Marjorie James

Hartlepool Borough Council says its officers are working hard to resolve the issue and have promised to keep the focus on the problem in coming months as engineers draw up proposals.

The reassurances were made to its neighbourhood services committee, which discussed the concerns as an additional matter at its meeting this week.

Chairman Councillor Dave Hunter has said it wishes it to be brought before the members when it gathers in coming months to make sure it remains on the agenda.

Councillor Marjorie James was among those to add her voice to concerns.

She said: “I like many members of this community have relatives who are in there and spend nine months of the year under water.

“It is distressing when you are trying to go to a grave and I know a lot of families in Hartlepool are affected by this.

“All members should be appraised of the situation.

“We want to get this put right and it is not going to be a quick fix or a cheap option, and neither should it be.”

Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, vice chairman of the committee, said: “There’s been a lot of work to address this problem from our officers to find a solution, so hopefully we will be appraised of that in future.

“Members want to be briefed on this matter because it is a terrible situation.”

Tony Hanson, assistant director for environment and neighbourhood services told members: “We do have sympathy with people that have relatives in that cemetery.

“It is important to reassure people that we are looking at this, we accept we need to look into it in more detail to find a solution and the cost involved.

“We appreciate it is a very sensitive issue and the inconvenience it causes.”