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Home   Gravesend   News   Article

Gravesend Cemetery visitors warned after holes open up exposing plots

21 February 2014
by Thom Morris

Visitors to a cemetery have been warned to be careful where they tread... after giant holes have appeared, exposing unmarked graves.

Cemetery bosses have revealed they have never before seen graves sinking into the ground at Gravesend on such a scale.

Several plots in the Old Road West cemetery have so far sunk below ground level - exposing several holes.

The soil has begun to sink at Gravesend Cemetery

The soil has begun to sink at Gravesend Cemetery

But backfilling has so far not had much of an effect, as the heavy rain has seen the soil compact down.

Now visitors have been warned to be careful walking in the cemetery - as holes may be lying underneath a mere “carpet” of grass.

The graves, including those at the Northfleet cemetery in Springhead Road, have been sinking into the ground over the last fortnight.

A council spokesman said: “It is quite common for graves to sink - especially after a period of heavy rain.

"However none of the current staff has seen anything on this scale. Both cemeteries have been affected but Northfleet is smaller and has been more manageable.

“There are two main reasons why it has happened.

"One is graves are backfilled with loose soil and they sink again once that soil gets so wet and heavy it compacts.


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"One of the first areas that showed a problem had been backfilled three times and needed doing again.

“Secondly in the old section of the cemetery the graves are deeper, so there are larger cavities for the soil to sink into.

“We have been working hard to top up the affected graves using extra staff from other teams and the Team Green. It is a gradual process but it is a priority to deal with them.”

A warning notice has been put up, urging visitors to watch where they tread

A warning notice has been put up, urging visitors to watch where they tread

The top layer of turf has fallen into the ground

The top layer of turf has fallen into the ground

Some of the graves have been taped off to keep people away from certain areas.

Families have been visiting the site to check on family members buried there.

A sign warns: “The ground staff are backfilling them as soon as they can, but due to the scale of the problem, have had to tape off some areas where the situation is particularly bad.

“Please be careful when walking on the grass as sometimes the soil has compacted but the grass remains like a carpet over the hole.”


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