Commemorative Bench Plaque and Tree Scheme
Memorials take many different forms and provide a focus for personal memories and a place to visit and reflect on happy times. A commemorative bench or tree has always been a popular choice to remember a relative or friend after their death and a number of commemorative benches have been placed and trees planted within Bryngarw Country Park as well as in other parts of the County Borough including Cemeteries, Parks, and Kenfig National Nature Reserve. Please be aware that Coychurch Crematorium should be contacted directly as it has its own policy and charges for commemorative bench plaques and trees which is not covered by this document.
The Authority has been without a policy or protocol in place to formalise requests and this has presented a disorganised approach which has proved difficult to manage For example, the design of the bench and the on-going maintenance required to ensure a safe environment is not subject to any conditions and the practice of attaching photographs and flowers to some of the benches throughout the year does not encourage visitors to use them.
Information has been received from the National Trust, Neath Port Talbot Council, City and County of Swansea and Carmarthen Council and the good practice incorporated into these schemes has been taken into account in order to develop a protocol that could be adopted by the Authority.
Rather than have individual commemorative benches, a standardisation of benches, that is specific to the location and area where the benches are placed, has been established. The material used will reflect sustainability and conservation aspects and provide space for up to 3 individual commemorative plaques to be affixed and dedicated for a period of 10 years. This follows the current practice at the Crematorium and allows a greater number of people to commemorate their loved ones.
In order to keep public spaces looking attractive and uncluttered, the practice of scattering ashes, placing flowers and other expressions of remembrance at or around commemorative benches or trees will not be allowed under this scheme.
A review of the existing benches and trees donated by relatives and friends will be undertaken. Where existing benches are in a good state of repair and are in accord with the general principles of this Policy, the benches will remain until they need replacing, at which time this Policy will apply. Where existing benches are outside the general principles of this Policy or are in need of replacement, meetings will be arranged with the original applicants to outline the proposal and how it would affect the current arrangement/understanding. It is proposed to allow a period of up to 2 years for any changes in the existing arrangements to come into line with the principles of this Policy.