A DISABLED Wrexham couple have spoken of their grief after a new council rule - which means they may not be able to visit the graves of their two sons - looks set to be introduced.
George and Jennifer Binnersley, of Trevenna Way, have to drive into Wrexham Cemetery, off Ruabon Road, to visit the graves of their sons, Nick and Gary, as both have severe health problems and are unable to walk to the gravesides.
But council chiefs are proposing to close the grounds to all vehicles except hearses, claiming the pathways are too narrow, forcing motorists to drive over graves and pedestrians to climb on top of headstones to avoid being hit by cars.
However, George and Jennifer are furious at the ruling which will make it almost impossible for them to visit the graves of their two sons, and have vowed to fight the decision all the way.
George, 67, said: 'It's absolutely ridiculous. I cannot see the sense in closing off the grounds to cars when people have been using it safely for years.
'I have had two heart attacks and four heart bypass operations, as well as having other health problems, and my wife has asthma, diabetes and heart trouble. There is no way we could walk to the graves.
'It's very upsetting and I know a lot of other disabled people who are equally upset.
'When I drive through the cemetery I only drive at walking pace and if there are pedestrians, I wait for them to move. I can't understand the council's ruling because there is nearly two feet of room on either side of the car on the path.
'I have spoken to one of the gravediggers and he told me he has never seen anyone having to climb on gravestones to make way for cars. In all the years I have been visiting the graves of my sons, I have only seen one person driving stupidly.
'Everyone drives slowly and respectfully. It's a peaceful place and I'm appalled I won't be able to visit my sons in future.'
George is now hiring a solicitor in his fight to prevent the ruling being approved by Wrexham Council's Executive later this month.
The proposal to ban cars was made after a three-month trial last year, where access to the cemetery was governed by a staffed barrier.
The subsequent report from independent auditors concluded that: 'Vehicles gain access into the grounds and park as close as possible to the graves being visited. As a result, the access roads become blocked and vehicles wishing to pass do so by driving over graves.
'During our inspection, a party of walk-ers - including a disabled visitor using crutches - had to give way to a vehicle requiring access and, as a result, had to climb on top of gravestones next to the roadway.'
But Cartrefle councillor Bill Prince, who acted as a pallbearer at Nick Binnersley's funeral, echoed George and Jennifer's concerns.
He said: 'The Binnersleys, and many other disabled people who visit the cemetery, are very distraught and rightly so. When the Scrutiny Committee first discussed the proposals, many of the disabled people present were in tears, such is the depth of emotion.
'It's an indictment of Wrexham Council that disabled people will no longer have access to the graves of their loved ones.'
Cllr Prince has also challenged the council to put measures in place to help disabled visitors if the car ban does go ahead such as having golf-style buggies to transport people from the car park to graves.
'If the decision is taken to ban vehicles then provisions must be put in place for disabled, elderly and infirm visitors,' he said. We can't punish everyone because of the acts of a reckless minority.'
Wrexham Council's chief community services officer John Bradbury said: 'The main routes through the cemetery are narrow, single-track routes bounded by graves.
'There were serious concerns about the safety of pedestrians and staff, and the appropriateness of visitors having to stand on graves in order to let cars past. The Scrutiny Committee considered the needs of disabled visitors when taking this decision, and access will only be restricted after improved provisions for them are put in place.'