Basildon Council operates a number of cemeteries, providing plots for the burial of local people and for their memorials. As you would expect, these are subject to terms and conditions in order to allow the overall management of the graveyard, particularly to allow unobstructed grounds maintenance. Unfortunately, a problem had built up over a number of years whereby some memorials had exceeded their permitted size, causing all sorts of problems for the Council staff who have to keep the cemeteries in good condition for everyone. This is obviously a deeply sensitive subject, and while people do have to keep to the rules it has been very important to be sensitive to people's grief at losing loved ones and their desire to remember them. So, the Council has been engaged in a programme to regularise memorials, while at the same time ensuring that people and graves are treated with the respect that they deserve. My colleague Cllr. Kevin Blake has handled this with the utmost sensitivity and nearly all of the work is now done with very few complaints. The previous Labour administration backed off from this because of the dangers of negative publicity, and some of my Conservative colleagues weren't too keen either. Despite this, Kevin has taken it on and with his excellent officer team the matter has been resolved in a way that supports both local people in their loss and the Council's operations. This despite the local Labour party's early efforts to turn this into some sort of party political issue.
It is the small local government successes like this that never make the papers.