‘Driving through the cemetery is totally unacceptable as a shortcut’ - speed limit at Norwich cemetery aims to stop rat-running

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 January 2013 | UPDATED: 12:19 27 January 2013

Green party group leader Claire Stephenson at Earlham cemetery, where signs are to be put up reminding motorists of the 5mph speed limit.  Photo: Bill Smith

Green party group leader Claire Stephenson at Earlham cemetery, where signs are to be put up reminding motorists of the 5mph speed limit. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2013

A speed limit is to be introduced at a city cemetery to discourage impatient motorists from using it as a short cut.

Norwich City Council will use speed signs to warn of Earlham Cemetery’s new 5mph restriction after deciding speed bumps could cause problems for hearses and funeral corteges.

Mourners and council staff have lodged complaints about vehicles cutting through the burial site to travel between Bowthorpe Road and Earlham Road.

The route through the cemetery could be redesigned if the problems continue.

A city council spokeswoman said: “We can’t use speed bumps at Earlham Cemetery to assist with enforcing a sensible speed restriction because of the impact they would have on hearses and the funeral cortege in general.

“So in the first instance we will look at signage to alert drivers to the speed restriction.

“If we find there is then a persistent problem with some drivers ignoring the speed restriction we have the option of looking at redesigning routes and access restrictions – in consultation with the crematorium – in order to alleviate the problem.

“To date we’ve had a handful of complaints from members of the public as well as other complaints from contract staff and council officers.”

Claire Stephenson, Nelson ward city council, said issues included people not using the correct path to cycle through the cemetery, although she questioned how the speed limit will be enforced.

But the Green Party group leader said it was inappropriate for any motor vehicles to use the cemetery as a cut-through.

Miss Stephenson, also a committee member of the Friends of Earlham Cemetery, said: “I think signs will be okay. At the moment there are signs saying people should not walk their dogs in the cemetery and people still do and that’s not enforced.

“I wonder how the council could enforce the speed limit? There’s also an argument for allowing dogs to go to funerals.

“I think when people are walking or cycling it’s a good way for people to go through the cemetery as you have extra eyes and ears for security. It’s a special place and they can also see the wildlife.

“Driving through the cemetery is totally unacceptable as a shortcut. It shows a marked lack of respect and it’s not the function of the cemetery.”

The 5mph limit has been added to the list of rules for Earlham and Rosary cemeteries, which is being re-freshed by the council.

They include making it clear dogs which assist disabled people are allowed in the cemetery, and regulating headstones and memorials.

As reported, graves have been inspected with signs put on those deemed to be dangerous. Officials hope these new rules will improve standards for constructing memorials and reduce the number of health and safety issues.

A new baby lawn section will also be created. Previously unused and unallocated space in Earlham will be made available for burials of babies aged one year old and under.

Of the existing area reserved for children of this age, council documents state: “Unfortunately the ‘baby’ sections have consistently been used for the burials of young children, including teenagers.

“The subsequent burial of young children in these sections has meant that coffin sizes, and therefore grave sizes, have varied.”

This prompted a review of the previous baby section, which will include future burials of any children up to the age of 16.

The Friends of Earlham Cemetery also held its first AGM last week, with the group keen to work with the council to protect, conserve and improve the site for wildlife and recreation.


  • "As reported, graves have been inspected with signs put on those deemed to be dangerous. Officials hope these new rules will improve standards for constructing memorials and reduce the number of health and safety issues"....leaving the gates open at night for corporate vandalism would be my first on the list, bin police followed by the grave police...1984 it ain't, just nulabour being the forerunners of new norms!!!!!!

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    Sunday, January 27, 2013

  • its because some rich playboy in a ferrari decided to paste his car across the roundabout at the bottom of the hill at high speed a few years back. the idiots in the council increased the size of the central roundabout so restricting traffic flow causing bottlenecks on the outer ring road on the derehem road.

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    Sunday, January 27, 2013

  • Do you honestly think a 5 MPH speed limit is going to make any difference ? The muppets who are not repectful enogh to not 'rat run' wouldn't take any notice because they are 'inpatienct type any way !!

    Report this comment


    Sunday, January 27, 2013

  • City Boy: for proof, you'd need to set up monitoring at the road entrancesexits. However, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence - I walk through the cem every day and I see people driving fast at least once or twice a week: and that's usually past the rush hour. With no pavements, it's dangerous and unacceptable, as well as highly disrespectful.

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    Monday, January 28, 2013

  • So nobody on the council has looked at why these cars are choosing to use the cemetary as a shortcut, no route cause investigation completed so we'll end up with the wrong action taken.

    Report this comment


    Sunday, January 27, 2013

  • Oh come on! Does anyone think a 5mph limit will work? Block the route as a ratrun - enter by Earlham or Bowthorpe Rd - leave the same way - simple?

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    Sunday, January 27, 2013

  • Time for bollards maybe.

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    Peter Watson

    Sunday, January 27, 2013

  • A lockable barrier should be placed on the Bowthorpe side where the road divides to go around the churches making the main entrance via Earlham Road only. A prominent sign should be placed at each entrance denoting it is access only and a no through road. The Bowthorpe road entrance could be kept but just as access only for the public and the barrier lifted as and when needed by staff. A 5 mph limit will just be a complete waste of time and money putting up the signs.

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    mike smith

    Sunday, January 27, 2013

  • More signs? What is this council thinking about? Close one end off so it is not a rat run - simples. This will make it a dead end!! Sorry.

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    Sunday, January 27, 2013

  • What proof is there that cars are actually using it as a cut through? I often go in via Earlham road as I am that side of the cemetry and travel slowly around to the Bowthorpe side to visit a grave and then exit via Bowthopre road! Does this mean I count as cutting through? The state of this road around the cemetry makes it impossible to travel at speed its full of pot holes and its a winding route as well.

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    City Boy

    Sunday, January 27, 2013

  • Why can't they just close one of the gates?

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    Disgusted of Norwich South

    Sunday, January 27, 2013

  • speed operated stingers? or tombstone's popping up the moment you go over 20mph. The 'accident' automatically calls a breakdown service to tow you out of the way, and the whole system has an emergency services automatic override if and when they approach....... ah, Sundays..........nothing would stop them more than costs, hit the purse.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, January 27, 2013

  • try a brick through the windscreen !!!

    Report this comment


    Sunday, January 27, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site


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