A WREXHAM county councillor has spoken of her heartbreak and fury after a long-running battle with a community council over the siting of a bench "far too close" to her parents' grave.

Bryn Cefn ward councillor Beverley Parry-Jones' mother Maureen Jones died in May 2020, aged 86, and her father, David Parry Jones, died two years later aged 89.

They, along with other members of Cllr Parry-Jones' family, were well known in the village for running the local stores, post office and bakers, as well as serving in and supporting the local church.

For more than two years, Cllr Parry-Jones has been asking Broughton Community Council to move a memorial bench which has been installed next to her parents' grave.

She explained it is so close that it had to be moved out of the way and then put back when her father was laid to rest in the grave.

And due to the proximity, she has not been able to have a headstone installed.

To make matters worse, she said the placement of the bench has resulted in people cutting the corner and actually walk across her parents' grave.

Thus far, she explained, the council has not agreed to move the bench.

She said: "I find it so hurtful, after everything they've done for this community, that they can't have a headstone.

The Leader:  David Parry Jones and Maureen Jones David Parry Jones and Maureen Jones (Image: Beverley Parry-Jones)

"They just have a wooden cross and they deserve so much more.

"I have seen footprints in the snow where people have actually walked over the grave.

"I don't know what part of 'it's too close' the community council doesn't get.

"I have tried for mediation through a solicitor, speaking to the family [whose loved one the bench is dedicated to] - the community council has completely disregarded everything.

"The grave was opened May 2020, and the bench was installed some time during covid in early 2021 - certainly before my dad died in 2022. So the grave was there first."

Complicating an already difficult situation, as well as serving on the county council, Cllr Parry-Jones is a community councillor at Broughton too.

And whenever the matter is spoken about, she has to leave the room due to a conflict of interest.

"It is extremely hard to go there as a community councillor," she said.

"To sit there with these people.

"My family is being completely disregarded and walked over.

"The stonemason has told me the grave will never settle while there is footfall going across it."

Cllr Parry-Jones said even if a headstone was to be be fitted, she fears it would be damaged with people cutting the corner.

The whole ordeal has affected her mental health, she explained, as it has prevented her from grieving and moving on.

And she's not the only member of her family impacted by it.

The Leader: The bench and Cllr Parry-Jones' parents' grave immediately to the leftThe bench and Cllr Parry-Jones' parents' grave immediately to the left (Image: Jonathen Harty)"My brother won't even come here," she explained.

"He's so upset about it - and no one seems to give a damn."

Funeral Director Jonathen Harty assessed the site as an outside observer and compiled a report suggesting the community council takes action.

Speaking to the Leader, he said: "My report stated this can easily be remedied - there's a section just down from the grave where it could still be relatively close and doesn't impact any other grave.

"In over 30 years in this business, I understand that people need privacy and this whole situation is causing Beverley huge issues.

"The actions of the community council being totally reticent to deal with this are not helping.

"It makes no sense to have the bench there - it looks, odd. It just does.

"I went to visit the cemetery and I noticed it straight away. It's far too close to the grave.

"I got involved because I thought this was unusual and unfair.

"A lot of local people have also contacted me and told me this isn't right.

"Beverley can't put the headstone up until this is resolved.

"All she's asking for is a bit of consideration and for the bench to be moved a few meters down to where it's not going to impact on anyone."

The Leader: Cllr Beverley Parry-JonesCllr Beverley Parry-Jones (Image: WCBC)Mr Harty, who also sought advice from the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, wrote a letter to Broughton Community council reiterating his concerns, and said he hoped "some other councillors may feel there's an issue here."

It was read by the the members of the community council at its most recent meeting, last week.

But Mr Harty received a response stating the community council's position remained as it had been in 2022.

A spokesperson for Broughton Community Council told the Leader: "The community council has considered this issue on a number of occasions and  totally refutes the claim that the positioning of the bench interferes in any way with the Parry-Jones family’s grave.

"The specific location of the bench was requested by the purchaser in memory of her late partner who tragically died at a young age after a long battle with cancer.

"The council has taken advice from a number of organisations, who have all agreed that the council has complied with the necessary regulations  and policies. 


"As with previous benches the council agreed the principle of an additional bench, with the Clerk liaising with the purchaser and stonemason as to its exact location. This is standard practice in many councils.

"In addition the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales has also considered the issue and concluded that the community council has acted appropriately.

"A compromise solution was offered to the Parry-Jones family’s solicitors in November 2022 which was rejected.

"The council has consulted with a number of local stonemasons who have all confirmed that they would be able to erect a headstone on the grave.

"Finally, the community council does not accept that Mr Harty’s report is independent as, as he himself states, it was commissioned on behalf of the Parry-Jones family."