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Grave stone safety


  1. Overview
  2. Which cemeteries we're responsible for
  3. Changes to how we keep grave stones safe
  4. More information


South Tyneside Council is responsible for the safety of our cemeteries, including grave stones and memorials.

    The general maintenance of memorials on grave spaces is the responsibility of the individual owner.

    Which cemeteries we're responsible for

    We're responsible for safety of the following cemeteries: 

    • Harton Cemetery
    • Hebburn Cemetery
    • Jarrow Cemetery
    • Boldon Cemetery
    • Whitburn Cemetery
    • Westoe Cemetery

    All of the information on this page relates to these cemeteries.

    Changes to how we keep grave stones safe

    We plan to inspect the stability of every memorial stone which is over 18 inches high. 

    We plan to do this every five years, or more often if needed.

    The inspections will be done by a qualified professional contractor.

    If a stone fails the inspection

    If a stone fails the inspection:

    • we will let the grave owner know (where possible), and give them six weeks to have a repair made by a professional stonemason
    • we will also put a small, discrete notice on the stone, to say that it has failed a safety inspection
    • if the stone has not been repaired after six weeks, we will aim to temporarily repair the stone, removing the risk of it falling and injuring anyone
    • we would then put a small, discrete notice on the stone, to say that it has been made safe
    • we would only lie the stone flat on the ground as a last resort, if all other temporary repair options are unsuitable
    • if a stone is over 8 feet high, we cannot make a temporary repair - a repair would be done by a local stonemason

    Do not enter any cordoned off areas in the cemeteries or attempt to repair a stone yourself. Repairs must be done by a professional stonemason working with the Council's Cemetery Rules and Regulations.

    If a stone passes the inspection

    If a stone is in good condition, it will pass the inspection and will not need to be inspected for another five years. 

    If a stone passes the inspection but needs to be monitored, it will be inspected again in 12 months.

    How we are communicating these changes

    As well as this webpage, a Public Notice which explains the changes is also displayed in cemeteries and published in the Shields Gazette. Read the Public Notice.

    More information

    Contact Bereavement Services on 0191 4273190 or

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