WYCHAVON District Council has been urged to “engage constructively” over planned work on graves in Droitwich after one of its councillors found out through Worcester News.

The local authority marked 44 memorials as unsafe at St Nicholas Church, Ombersley Road, Droitwich, having taken over the management of the churchyard.

An inspection led to signs being placed on headstones and memorials with some laid down for safety reasons.

An anonymous poster on social media appeared not to have been informed of any problems and questioned the validity of a grave of a family member being marked with one of the signs.

And Councillor John Hartley, Wychavon District Council’s representative for Droitwich Spa Central, said no contact had been made with him despite one of his family members having been laid to rest at the site.

And while Cllr Hartley stopped short of criticism, he was quick to stress the importance of open communication on the matter.

“This is very special place for me,” said Cllr Hartley.

“It is where my great grandfather is buried and while I understand the need to ensure that leaning or deteriorating gravestones pose no risk to the public, I would urge the council to be sympathetic and to engage constructively with local residents whose loved ones are buried here.”

On whether families had been informed of the assessment, a spokesperson for the council said the relevant church authorities held that kind of information and that they had been contacted.

They also stressed that council-funded repairs to memorials would only be fixed back to their bases with no alterations to the memorial stones themselves.

“If people are concerned they can call us and we will talk it through with them,” they added.

A spokesperson from the Diocese of Worcester said: “The parish have recently become aware that the council consider some of the graves to be unsafe and are now helping to advise them as to how to contact the families so the situation can be resolved.”