A CHRISTCHURCH resident who struggles with mobility issues says she is unable to visit the grave of her son at Christchurch Cemetery because a barrier is restricting her access.

Molly Lambert, 77 from Christchurch, lost her son five years ago but, since the council have put in lockable bollards on the cemetery entrance onto Jumper Road, she and her husband have not been able to tend to their late son’s grave.

Bournemouth Echo:

Having been told to alert one of the groundsmen to remove the lock on the bollards to allow disabled access to the cemetery, Molly couldn’t find one and was forced to return home.

She said: “I am 77 years old and my husband is 70 but he has been suffering with illnesses and I have bad knees

“I have called the council about it and they have told me to speak to one of the caretakers who are usually on site, but I have been up there a few times and not been able to find anyone

“I understand they don’t want cars up there but what are elderly people like my husband, and I supposed to do?”

Instead Molly is forced access the cemetery entrance on Endfield Road having travelled along Fairmile Road, increasing her commute significantly.

Bournemouth Echo:

When she contacted the council about her situation, she was advised to apply for a blue badge, but has had difficulties receiving her parking permit.

On top of this, Molly is angered by the fact that cyclists and skateboarders are able to travel through the cemetery yet elderly people and those with mobility issues have been overlooked.

Molly added: “I am quite disgusted with it. We have to carry the water and flowers a long way which is quite a walk for me and a real inconvenience for us. 

“The children skateboard along the path and people cycle along but older men and women can’t get through it. They can cycle along it, but we can’t gain access to visit the graves of our loved ones. It just doesn’t seem right

“I understand that they have to stop people gain access to the church, but they should stop the cyclists and the skateboarders as well.”

Bournemouth Echo:

BCP Council have apologised for not publicising the changes but have informed people with mobility issues and require additional access to contact the groundsmen ahead of their visit to the cemetery.

Councillor Felicity Rice, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Climate Change, said: “I’m really sorry to hear that this lady has experienced some difficulty visiting the cemetery.

“For safety reasons, we have recently installed two lockable bollards at the site to prevent vehicle access.

Aware of the potential difficulty for blue badge holders, we have installed notices at two locations in the cemetery which provide the telephone number of our grounds person who can remove those bollards by arrangement between the hours of 9am and 3pm. Alternatively, individuals can email us at groundsmaintenancechristchurch@bcpcouncil.gov.uk.

“I apologies that this resident was not aware of the recent changes, however in the future I would encourage anyone with mobility issues who needs additional access to get in touch prior to visiting the cemetery.”