Police propose Sheffield General Cemetery 'closes in evenings' in bid to reduce crime

Sheffield General Cemetery.
Sheffield General Cemetery.

Sheffield General Cemetery could be closed during the evening as part of a raft of measures proposed by police to reduce crime at the historic site.

The last 12 months has seen thieves steal flagstones and momentos from the side of graves at the burial site in Sharrow.

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The site, which was opened in 1836 and has around 87, 000 burial sites, is currently open all day, every day.

But it could be shut to the public in the evenings under plans put forward by South Yorkshire Police.

A senior officer put forward the idea in a letter to Sheffield Council after the authority revealed it intends to carryout numerous improvement works at the site.

Suzanne Turton, designing out crime officer for the force, said: "Consideration should be given to closing the cemetery on an evening to discourage youths loitering and causing a nuisance.

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"The boundary treatment must be able to secure the site when not in use."

She also advised that lighting should be installed to "support a CCTV system" and fittings should be "protected where vulnerable to vandalism."

A planning application from Sheffield Council shows how the authority wants to build a car park in the park grounds, carry out conservation works on listed walls and monuments, landscape improvements, new signage and lighting on nearby Cemetery Avenue.

A design and access statement submitted with the planning application said the works intend to create a total of 23 spaces for cars, cycles and disabled parking and would lead to the site removed from Historic England’s 'Heritage At Risk' register, which lists historic places in need of conservation.

However, the plans have sparked protests, with some people claiming no parking should be allowed on the site other than for maintenance workers and the disabled.

Residents have launched the Save Our Green Open Spaces Sheffield group and launched a petition signed by more than 4000 people.

Objector John Auckland said: "In 2007 English Heritage published 'Paradise Preserved' an assessment into the conservation of historic cemeteries.

"They state 'cemetery landscapes were carefully designed to enhance the symbolism of this landscape' and that 'wildlife colonizes these quiet green spaces which quickly become important habitats for plants and animals' and 'they are gems of countryside and remnant habitats locked in an urban setting.'

"The application will greatly disturb and destroy this 'Preserved Paradise'."

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No car parking is currently provided within the site, however on-street pay and display parking is available around the Cemetery Avenue entrance.

Sheffield Council officers said: "Access controls to prevent unauthorised access by vehicles are in place to all but two of the sites entrances.

"Vehicular access is only possible from the Montague Street entrance, via the removal of a timber bollard.

"Uncontrolled on street parking is present on Montague Street, however this is used by commuters, and so is not available to users of the site for the majority of the working week. The lack of car parking for the site is an issue as it is restricting easy access for all."

A decision on the application is due by Tuesday, May 1.