Yobs damage land set aside for burials at site allocated for expansion of Hartlepool's Stranton Cemetery
Vandals and firebugs have caused damage to land set aside for new burial plots in Hartlepool, with mother nature adding to its woes.
The land next to Stranton Cemetery was formerly used for allotments, but was taken over to provide future burial spaces.
The site has remained vacant since 2018, when 52 allotment holders were relocated to other plots.
However in recent months the site has been a target for antisocial behaviour, with damage done to the boundary fencing and fires started on the land.
Patches have also become overgrown, and remaining buildings have fallen into disrepair.
Council chiefs say they have now identified issues and liaised with specialist companies to plan work to re-secure the land and make it suitable for burials - and are looking to go to procurement for the work.
A report on the proposed work will go before Hartlepool Borough Council Finance and Policy Committee on Monday for approval, detailing the problems and the work which needs doing.
The report from council director of regeneration and neighbourhoods Denise McGuckin said complaints have been made over the site by residents and councillors, which the work would address.
It said: “In recent months the site has been a target for children and young adults, which has resulted in fires at the site, damage to the boundary fence, antisocial behaviour, and reports of drug taking and alcohol being consumed in some of the old, abandoned allotment sheds.
“The site still has a number of old allotment sheds in situ, some of which are dilapidated in condition and pose a risk to people entering these, while many of these sheds are may be constructed from asbestos containing materials.
“The site itself is now overgrown in many areas due to a lack of maintenance over the last two years.
“These works are necessary to make the site safe and to help create increase the capacity of burial plots at Stanton for many years to come.”
Following the work the site would need a period of time to settle before it can be used as a burial ground.
The amount of time can vary, but council bosses estimate it could take five years, so they would want to start work this year or early next year to have the land available for 2025.
A further report for information is to be brought back to Finance and Policy Committee confirming the exact costs of these works once the procurement exercise and the necessary works have been completed.
If approved, the proposal will be referred to a full council meeting to be finalised and rubber-stamped.