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Last Updated: Friday, 6 February, 2004, 18:55 GMT
Gravestone height causes row
No headstones over 3ft are permitted
A Gypsy family from Devon has criticised a local council in a dispute over the height of a gravestone.

Newton Abbot Cemetery is popular with Gypsy families from all over the region and has a special section for them.

The family wants a memorial to Powers Small, who died last year, but have been told that their proposed stone is too high.

His widow Maureen, who lives in Plymouth, wants to erect a 3ft 6in gravestone but has been told by Teignbridge District Council (TDC) that it is too high.
It's our tradition to ...have a nice stone.
Diane Lee

Her daughter Diane Lee says the family was never told about the height restriction when booking the plot.

"I think it's disgusting," she said.

"Their rules state you can have a 4ft cross but only a 3ft headstone.

"We are not asking for the world, we're asking for six inches."

The council says it sympathises with the family and understands its distress.

But is says legislation on cemeteries dictates that no gravestones over 3ft should be allowed because they pose a safety risk.

No exception

"I'm not going to accept it," said Diane Lee.

"The rules were never explained to us.

"We're a gypsy family and it's our tradition to attend to our own graves and we always like a nice stone."

Members of TDC's appeal panel will look at the case next week.

But the recommendation is that no exception be made in the case of Mrs Small.

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07 Jan 04  |  Wales

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