Anger at cemetery lock-out

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A WIDOWER whose beloved wife is laid to rest in Bury St Edmunds cemetery has hit out at a council’s latest move to cut costs.

When Ernie Broom visited his wife Deirdre’s grave last weekend, he was alarmed by signs saying the cemetery’s main gates would be closed at weekends.

Mr Broom, who lives on the Howard Estate, said: “It’s been decided without any concern for the people who have loved ones in there – it’s a difficult thing at the best of times, they should be making it easier for people, not more difficult.”

The King’s Road and West Road gates became automated on Monday to save on the cost of a member of staff unlocking and locking them each morning and night. They are open from 8am to 7pm in the summer and a button inside allows visitors to exit after closing time.

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said the main Hospital Road gates, still operated manually, would be closed to cut costs further.

She said: “The Hospital Road gate will be opened by the cemeteries staff at 8am during the week (Monday to Friday) and closed at 4pm Monday to Thursday and at 12.30pm on Friday, after which it will be closed all weekend, until 8am the following Monday.

“The notice directs pedestrians to the West Road gates, which are an easy three minute walk away. We will keep the situation under review.”

The move is expected to save the council around £4,500 a year.

Mr Broom, 76, said parking near the other gates was a problem and that for him to visit at weekends, which he has done since his wife passed away in 2001, he would have to walk uphill to the side gate and back down to her grave near the main gate, and back again.

“I’m a pretty agile 76 but there’s a lot of people who can’t do it and a lot of people in wheelchairs – it’s a step too far in my view,” he said.

Anyone with questions should call 01284 757068.