Last night I asked the Neighbourhood Service Committee of Liverpool Council to support a motion that I moved about the Roscoe Gardens Cemetery in central Liverpool.
I am delighted to say that not only did they do that but they also added something to it which will mean that the Council looks at all closed or unused cemeteries in its ownership and look to see if they are being appropriately used and cared for.
In introducing the motion, I said that I am appalled that this cemetery which still contains the remains of more than 200 souls has been allowed to be desecrated by this Council.
There are four grounds for the Council to mend its ways:
- This is still a cemetery and like all cemeteries should be a place of greenery and quiet contemplation. I suspect that is the purpose that it was given to the City for all those years ago.
- It is a much-needed oasis of greenery and peace in a very hard urban environment and its use as an outside discotheque has caused problems for local residents. The nearest green space to his is either up Mount Pleasant to Falkner Square or across very busy roads to St Johns Gardens.
- It is an important part of our heritage with the Unitarian congregations in Liverpool contributing so much to our city. These included William Roscoe, a leading member of the slavery abolition movement and, ironically, leading members of what became the national temperance movement. Too often the Council has ignored its heritage. I believe strongly that if our City is to move forward it must understand and build on its past.
- The Council appears to have broken the Burial Act by not asking permission of the Unitarian Church to use the ground for this purpose. There is a lot of confusion over some of the laws which relate to this.
Now the Cabinet member will go away and report back in three months about how the future appropriate use of the land can be safeguarded.
This has all arisen because the Council has not had a clear view of the use of the land. It had officials from licensing, property management and planning trying to do their best without clear leadership from the politicians.
That leadership has now been given and I hope that the Council will involve both the Unitarian and residential communities in discussions about the long-term future of the land which perhaps, between them, they might choose to manage.
My full motion is below.
|.||Council Motion by Councillor Richard Kemp – Consecrated Ground at Renshaw Hall |
Council notes recent organised events held on the burial ground attached to the former Renshaw Hall, which included temporary marquees for entertainment and the potential consumption of alcohol.
Council further notes the burial ground came into the ownership of the Council in 1902 and remains the final resting place for more than 200 souls, and that the use of this area is an emotive issue that needs to be dealt with both respectfully and sensitively.
Council therefore requests the relevant Cabinet Member to ensure that the burial ground be restored and maintained for use as a place for quiet reflection, peace and thought.