Plans to ‘grass over’ graves at a cemetery in Reading have been paused as some families were not aware of the maintenance works, the council has announced.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) had planned to begin seeding work on the graves in Henley Road Cemetery so that they fit in with the other graves in this part of the cemetery.

Some members of the Muslim community prefer earth graves, where they can plant flowers, but the graves are located in lawned areas.

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In 2018, the council identified that it was necessary to find an additional area for Muslim burials within the Henley Road Cemetery.

At that time, the only available location was in an area where graves are ‘laid to lawn’.

A meeting was held, and this was agreed by the Imam at the time, but when notice was given of the plans to ‘grass over’ the graves, families informed the council they were unaware this would happen.

A RBC spokesman said: “When a burial is being arranged, a burial notice must be completed and within this notice, the grave type is specified.

“Unfortunately, as the vast majority of burial notice forms in the Muslim community are completed by either the funeral director or more often by the mosque on behalf of the family, it is possible the families have not explicitly been made aware of the grave type.

“Therefore, when the recent signs were displayed on site giving notice of planned seeding work in the area, this was the first time some families have been made aware of the situation.

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“Obviously if families have not been informed of this situation prior to the burial, we fully understand why they would be upset on discovering it, particularly where a community has strong beliefs regarding burial sites.

“We will be discussing this further with those who have loved ones buried, as well as representatives of the Muslim community. In the meantime, we have paused the planned work for the time being.”