Memorial Trees, Benches & Plaque Policy

Policies Uploaded on October 5, 2023

Adopted by the Council on 4th October 2023


Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council supports the need and principles of allowing trees and benches as memorials in certain areas it controls and its green space areas, but is also mindful that these facilities have many uses and are enjoyed by a wide range of people. The Council will therefore ensure that the issue is managed and regulated for the mutual benefit of all.

Policy Aims 

This policy has been produced with the following guiding principles:

  • To be respectful, sympathetic and easily understood by everyone
  • To balance the sometimes contrasting needs of a variety of facility users
  • To maintain and enhance the high-quality appearance of sites and not detract from their prime recreational purpose.
  • To establish the responsibility for maintenance, repair and replacement of memorials.
  • To achieve full cost recovery by Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council for any memorials provided

Sites Included

Only the sites under the direct ownership and management of Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council will be subject to this policy. Recreational open spaces within the wider District and managed by the other Councils will be subject to their own policies. The sites listed below are included within the policy, but further sites may be added in the future.

  • The Recreation Ground
  • The Mountfitchet Green
  • Areas at Forest Hall Park
  • Coopers Alley
  • Five Acres
  • Bentfield Greens
  • Birchalls
  • Windmill Fields
  • Cemetery
  • Elms Farm Allotments

Rules and Management

Memorial Benches

1          Memorial benches will be positioned to maximise the benefit and development of the site and the number of memorial benches in a particular area will be limited. However, the Council will attempt to accommodate the wishes of the applicants wherever possible.

2          In order to maintain consistency of appearance, quality and control over location, all benches will be ordered and installed by the Parish Council, of a design and specification as determined by the Council.

3          The total cost of the installation of a memorial bench (including plaque ad installation) will be paid by the applicant with a further 10% donation to the Parish Council to cover simple ongoing maintenance.

4          The Council in line with the current maintenance regime for benches will maintain the bench for a period of ten years (10 years). However, no replacement liability will be  accepted at the end of the useful life of the bench (ten years) or if it is damaged    through vandalism.

5          After a period of 10 years, or when the bench becomes unusable, any memorial plaque will be removed and offered back to the donor. If they are uncontactable or do not want the plaque returned, the plaque will be recycled. If a community bench has been identified, the donor will be offered the option to pay to transfer the plaque to that community bench.

6          Each site has limited space that can be accommodated and will be subject to the Council’s approval. Alternatively, an option to refurbish or replace an existing old bench with a new one may be offered subject to the condition of the existing bench.

7          In order to reduce the costs to individuals wising to install a memorial dedication, they will be given the option of purchasing a plaque which can be installed on any identified council memorial sites such as the Coronation Shelter. These plaques will be installed by the Council to its own specification. All costs will be payable by the donor.

Memorial Trees

1          The planting of memorial trees will only be permitted in certain areas. And the number of trees permissible may be limited dependent on location and size. Written applications will be considered by the Open Spaces Committee whose decision is binding.

2          The species of tree will be of a native variety and will be at the discretion of the Open Spaces Committee in keeping with the local environment. Trees will be planted during the autumn and winter planting season by the Council, but the applicant and family members may be present and assist if practicable and desired.

3          The total cost of the tree and tree guard including installation will be dependent on size appropriate for the site and will be paid by the applicant with a 10% additional donation to the Parish Council for the cost of the first year’s watering.

4          Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council will not accept responsibility or liability in respect of any damage to or loss of a memorial tree or tree guard unless this is reasonably shown to be due to the negligence of the Council. All trees planted as a memorial will be maintained by the Council in line with its policy.

5          Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council will allow plaques on the guards of memorial trees (whilst the guards are in place) but will not permit plaques to be fixed to any tree or post.

Memorial Plaques

1          No memorial plaques are permitted on trees.

2          No flowers or similar memorials shall be permitted to mark the site of a death at any time. The Council will not grant applications for memorials to, or to scatter the ashes of, pets.