VISITORS have been unable to gain vehicular access at the Easterbank entrance to Forfar Cemetery of late.
The gates have been chained shut since a route through the cemetery was being used as a short-cut to the town centre by traffic during a period when South Street was closed for road repair work.
However, while pedestrian access has been maintained, the chains remain firmly in place, preventing motorists from using the entrance.
A Forfar pensioner popped in to the “Dispatch” office last midweek to express concern that he was unable to access the cemetery by motor to visit his late wife’s grave.
“I lost my wife Muriel last August, and visit her grave regularly,” explained eighty-year-old William Smith.
“The easiest route from my home at Tweedmill Brae is along North Street, up South Street and into the cemetery via the Easterbank entrance.
“However, the gates have remained padlocked since the roadworks in South Street were completed.”
Mr Smith contacted the AccessLine and was informed that there were no immediate plans to re-open the gates to traffic.
“There are only the two entrances to the cemetery, one via the Newmonthill gates and the other at Easterbank,” added Mr Smith.
“The main route is narrow at the entrance and is on a steep gradient, which can make driving tricky in wintry conditions. It would have been okay some eighty years ago when the entrance was ideal for horse drawn carriages.
“I also thought it would make good sense to have two exits from the cemetery, especially when large funerals are taking place.”
A spokesperson for Angus Council explained that damage to the pillars has led to the closure of the Easterbank gates to traffic.
However, once the repairs have been carried out the gates could be re-opened.
“The Newmonthill gates give access to the cemetery at all times for both pedestrians and motorists and we encourage members of the public to use this entrance,” explained the spokesperson.“The Easterbank entrance is narrower and there has already been vehicle damage to the pillars.
“In addition, this entrance was being used as an inappropriate short-cut by some motorists, so we took the decision to close the gates to general motor traffic.
“The pedestrian access at Easterbank is unaffected and we always arrange for the main gates to be opened for funeral services.
“However, we are looking again at the situation and once repairs have been made to the gates, we may consider opening them to vehicles during the day, Monday to Friday.
“They will remain shut in the evenings and at weekends.”