Basildon councillors could next week approve the formal opening of a pet memorial garden at Wat Tyler Park.

A report to the Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee on Wednesday 3 July sets out a schedule of fees and charges for the internment of pets and accompanying memorial trees and benches. A secluded site, close to the entrance of Wat Tyler Country Park, was set aside in 2013 and planted with birch trees using funding from the Veolia North Thames Trust. The site has been maturing and is now ready to fulfil the purpose for which it was created.

If councillors approve the pet memorial garden proposal and the proposed charging schedule then the opportunity to secure a lasting and peaceful memorial for much loved pets can be offered to borough residents. The charges will offset the costs of maintaining the area and will pay for regular grass cutting, the maintenance of paths, which ensure full disability access, the management of the trees and the purchase of the memorial equipment.

Chairman of the Neighbourhood and Public Spaces Committee Councillor David Harrison said: "I think that there will be lots of pet owners who would really appreciate this quiet space, set among trees, as a final resting place for their much loved animals and somewhere they can visit as often as they wish, confident that they will find the space will be well-maintained and respected."

The committee will also decide if it wishes to see a wider policy developed that would standardise the approach to all memorials for loved ones in the borough's parks and open spaces. That policy would cover memorial trees and benches and the scattering of ashes of loved ones. It would also introduce a complete ban on the release of balloons and sky lanterns on all council-owned land - both are damaging to the environment, causing litter and harming wildlife.

The proposal for a borough-wide policy comes in response to local Friends' Groups, who have asked the council for more control of the scattering of ashes and the process for establishing memorials within parks.

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Published on Wednesday 26 June 2019