Anger at 'disrespectful' motorists using Sunderland cemetery as a shortcut

Councillors have slammed ‘disrespectful drivers’ using Bishopwearmouth Cemetery as a shortcut.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 9:24 am

The Echo has spoken to residents about what they say is a continuing problem, with motorists driving through the cemetery between Hylton Road and Chester Road.

There are “No through road” signs at both ends of the 80-acre site. But cemetery visitors said they are routinely ignored, along with the 10mph speed limit signs, with vehicles going far faster.

Some drivers have even been playing loud music as they speed through the stretch of the cemetery’s road, which is around 600 metres long.

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Motorists are ignoring signage as well as the speed limit.

This has angered some who feel it is disrespectful to mourners and to people who just want some tranquility.

One nearby resident told the Echo: “It’s day and night. To save themselves two minutes they use it like a main road, and they couldn’t care less if there’s funerals going on. It’s disgraceful. The council could stop it if they just closed the gate to cars on one side of the cemetery.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Martin Haswell, whose Pallion ward includes the cemetery, has raised the issue with the council and has recommended changes.

He said: “I’ve been, and will continue, asking the council to make the cemetery a one-way system to prevent through traffic, whilst maintaining access for mourners and funeral parties.

“The cemetery is a place for people to mourn but this is being disturbed by cars racing through to avoid the traffic lights on Chester and Hylton Road.”

“Bishopwearmouth holds the remains of family and friends of many people across the city as well as fallen service personnel. It is on all of us to show respect and give mourners dignity and the chance to grieve in peace.”

Sunderland City Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for Environment and Transport, Cllr Claire Rowntree, said: “Cemeteries are about respect and peacefulness.

“We are aware of these disrespectful drivers here in Bishopwearmouth and are addressing the problem as part of a wider package of improvement works to city cemeteries. We will be confirming further details on these works in coming weeks.

“Anyone with information about anti-social behaviour in cemeteries or anywhere in our city can confidentially report matters to www.sunderland.gov.uk/report-asb.”

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