A notice of motion that would have allowed the bereaved to erect memorial benches at cemeteries in Caerphilly Council has been voted down.
The motion by Plaid Cymru Aber Valley councillor John Roberts and seconded by fellow Plaid councillor Colin Elsbury (St Martin’s Ward) was defeated by 38 votes to 22 at a meeting of the full council.
In the motion Councillor John Roberts said: “This ban unjustly deprives individuals, families and friends from paying their full respects and being able to remember as they would like, a departed loved one.
“In new parts of cemeteries where graves are now being placed people are being discriminated against, particularly some of our more vulnerable people who cannot stand for very long. This might well prevent some people from even visiting the final resting place of their nearest and dearest.”
Councillor John Roberts told the council: “Not every family wants to organise a bench, not every family can afford to. But some would like it done and some of them are elderly and others have difficulty standing up for a long time.
“They could do with some form of seating close to the reason they are in that cemetery. Some cemeteries have got a good number of benches, some have less. We could help a few people out.”
Fellow Plaid councillor Colin Mann (Llanbradach) called for flexibility rather than a blanket ban “because we are talking about bereaved people who are very vulnerable”. “It is very difficult if there is nowhere to sit down,” added Councillor Mann who suggested applications for benches could be decided on a case by case basis.
A council official said that the authority did install a “suitable number” of metal benches and bereaved families could place a memorial plaque on benches. Prior to a decision taken in 2008, families could purchase a wooden bench (for a one-off fee of circa £500.