Cemetery is closed again

By John Fisher, October 10, 2008

Hilltop cemetery in Leeds has been closed to the public for a second time after Leeds City Council civil engineers classified the Gelderd Road site as dangerous.

Two years ago, the collapse of a grave and gravestone forced Leeds Jewish Orthodox Cemeteries to close the cemetery for repairs. Hilltop reopened in June 2007 with assurances about its safety. But further subsidence has created more dangerous conditions.

No further burials will take place at the cemetery, which dates back to the early 1870s. LJOC chairman Dan Cohen explained that structural problems were the result of coal mining tunnels running under the grounds.

"These collapses [of land] can occur at any time and in any part of the cemetery and while the Coal Authority will always seek to repair the collapse, they cannot prevent them from occurring."
Mr Cohen added that until LJOC was certain that the problems had been resolved, "we cannot in good conscience allow people on to the cemetery".

Families of those buried at Hilltop have been informed about the closure. There have been some 20 funerals in the last 30 years, the most recent in November 2007.

Last updated: 3:31pm, August 17 2009