From Sharon L. Champion, Ventnor:
I do not think you need to have an interred relative, or be particularly religious, to be alarmed at the proposed removal of gravestones affected by the plan for a 'green space’ in St Catherine’s Churchyard, Ventnor.
If this were done by vandals, I can imagine the local disgust. Was there not a recent occasion when cars were parked on burial plots, which led to a protest pictured above? This consecrated ground appears to have little value to those who would wish to change its use.
We may not end up with a king in the car park (as they did in Leicester), but these headstones mark the graves of some of the oldest and noted residents in Ventnor’s early history. Removing or disturbing them shows scant regard for the historical inheritance of this town.
I understand there are major issues arising from this plan which need to be addressed with several bodies, including the church’s consistory court and planning.
Headstones belong to the people who erected them and their heirs and, as St Catherine’s Church is in a conservation area, more restrictions apply and need to be considered by the appropriate people at a higher level.
I hope to see these issues addressed, so we can see this is not another 'done deal’.
Please would Ventnorians join me in considering this matter carefully before any desecration of our local consecrated ground takes place.