Council needs to spend nearly £300,000 on replacement railings for cemetery
Cash-strapped Norwich City Council will have to spend nearly £300,000 to replace historic railings surrounding the city’s main cemetery.
The council set its budget last week, including a 2.99pc increase in its share of the council tax, which councillors said would help protect services from cuts.
But the City Hall budget also included setting aside £142,000 in each of the years 2020/21 and 2021/22 to replace the railings around Earlham Cemetery, which the city council owns.
And a further £28,000 will also be needed to replace damaged ornamental gates around the Victorian Grade II-listed cemetery.
A spokeswoman for the council, said: “The fence around Earlham cemetery, which is over 80 acres, has needed replacing for some time and will be replaced like for like with cast iron.
“In the past we have replaced the fence in sections.
“However there is some deterioration on a number of fences around the site which needs to be resolved as quickly as possible so the use of capital funds is required.”
Paul Kendrick, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member for resources, said it was frustrating that, at a time of government cuts in funding to local councils, the authority was having to spend the cash.
But he said: “These are costs we have to endure.”
Earlham Cemetery was originally laid out by the city surveyor EE Benest, starting in 1856.
Initially 30 acres in size, it was extended over the years, to take in an area which stretches from Dereham Road, along Bowthorpe Road to the other side of Farrow Road.
The cemetery was given a grade II listing by English Heritage in 2001.
In November last year, a listed Victorian gatepost at the cemetery was reduced to rubble after a bin lorry crashed into it.
The accident happened at the Bowthorpe Road entrance wall of the cemetery, when the gatepost was hit by a Viridor commercial waste lorry as it was leaving the site.
However, the £28,000 earmarked to be spent in 2020/21 is not to repair that gate, but to carry out work on other gates at the cemetery.
Meanwhile, almost £170,000 also needs to be spent to replace the boilers at Norwich’s Riverside Leisure Centre.
A recent survey of the boilers at the Wherry Road centre, managed by Places for People on behalf of Norwich City Council, identified they were nearing the end of their operational life.
Councillors agreed to increase the budget by £156,000, so both the boilers can be replaced this month.