Statement from Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe about Scholemoor Cemetery
“A video has been shared on social media today about someone doing groundwork at Scholemoor cemetery. The worker is not a council employee and he was unfairly cornered by a member of the public and asked questions about the council bereavement strategy that he can’t have possibly been expected to know the details of. We therefore need to put the record straight.
“The works at Scholemoor cemetery have been planned for years. The latest Executive paper on this subject came last year when we sanctioned the building of two new crematoria, the replacement of another at Oakworth and an extension to the Muslim burial ground at the same time. This will ensure that we have enough space in our graveyards and enough capacity in our crematoria for many years to come. People may not have been interested in these decisions at the time but now that everyone is rightly concerned about coronavirus, contractor activity to carry out the commissioned work is inevitably getting more public attention.
“We made the decision to invest £23m in our bereavement facilities at that time because Bradford is somewhere which welcomes people of all faiths and none. When people die it is therefore very important to us that we accord them the dignity of their beliefs and that we have plenty of space for burials to take place for those people who desire that. Similarly we have to make sure that we have cremators in good working order for those communities who don’t desire to be buried. The expressed will of the deceased person is paramount. Those of faith where burial is a prequisite will always have that wish respected, and that will always be Bradford Council’s position in all circumstances.
“If the unintended consequence of this story is that people take coronavirus more seriously and avoid public gatherings and practice physical distancing, then that can only be a good thing. Obviously these are serious times and every resident needs to take this health risk seriously. As a whole Bradford community, however, we will work through this.”
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