Memorial benches installed by relatives of the deceased 'are turning beauty spots into graveyards'

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
The National Trust warned that Britain’s beauty spots are being ruined by too many memorial benches (SWNS)

A National Trust chief has warned that memorial benches put in place by relatives of the deceased are starting to ruin Britain’s beauty spots.

Charles Alluto, who heads the charity on Jersey, said his favourite headland on the island is blighted by 16 benches.

He said the situation at St Brelade’s Bay and other beauty spots including Le Hocq, Green Island and Archirondel are a ‘great pity’.

Similar complaints have been reported across the UK and Jersey’s Infrastructure Department now says it will refuse permission for any more in some areas.

Mr Alluto, 52, said a ‘consistent policy’ is required to prevent some areas become a ‘graveyard’.

The benches are put in places where people enjoyed natural beauty, according to a National Trust chief (SWNS)

He said: ‘It’s having an adverse impact on an area of natural beauty.

‘The benches are put in places where people enjoyed that natural beauty but you’re undermining the place they actually enjoyed.

‘In Jersey we have lots of different agencies and I think you need a consistent policy across the island, and I think you need a specific time span for them to exist.

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‘We only have a certain amount of land to play with, that’s why it’s become such an issue here on Jersey.’

He went on: ‘We’re all going to die one day, and that’s not going to stop.

‘You’ll have this perpetual requirement for more memorial benches and it’s a matter of how you deal with that in a sustainable way.’

Relatives have been placing benches up in memory of the deceased (SWNS)

His thoughts have been echoed by St Martin Constable Michel Le Troquer, who said that no new benches would be allowed at St Martin’s Village Green, believing that a ‘limit’ had now been reached.

Mr Le Troquer suggested that planting trees may be a more suitable alternative.

Mr Alluto, the CEO of National Trust for Jersey for 18 years, added: ‘What can be easily forgotten is that these are benches for people to sit on but often you do not want to sit on them because they become too personal. It is like standing on someone’s grave.’

Jersey has stopped short of a blanket ban on memorial benches (SWNS)

Martin Gautier, director of technical services for the Infrastructure Department on Jersey, said he thought that too many benches had been installed.

The department will now refuse any more at some beauty spots but the island has stopped short of a blanket ban.

The National Trust does not have a UK-wide policy on memorial benches, with the issue decided at a regional or property level.

Planting trees has been suggested as a more suitable alternative (SWNS)

In many sites relatives are encouraged to plants trees instead of leaving benches.

Elsewhere in the UK, Bradford introduced restrictions on benches in July 2015.

A spokesman for Bradford Council said: ‘New memorial benches are permitted in some areas subject to consultation with relevant people, such as ‘friends of’ organisations at some of our local parks.

‘This policy received a great deal of public support during the consultation and we believe that it is working well.’