A CONTROVERSIAL policy requiring families to remove precious ornaments from the graves of their loved ones will be changed, after a petition was signed by hundreds of people.

Dozens of families at Llanfoist Cemetery in Abergavenny were angered last week after receiving a letter from Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) requiring them to remove grave tributes.

The letter stated that ornaments, except for those at the heads of graves, must be removed by May 14 to allow grass cutting and “topping work.”

Debbie Norman, who helps maintain her sister’s grave at the cemetery, set up a petition against the move which has been signed by 346 people to date.

More than 100 comments were also made on the petition against the move.

But when Ms Norman went to visit her sister’s grave on Friday, she found a sign erected at the entrance to the church stating that the council’s policy was being “revised.”

She said she was “surprised” at the council’s change of plan.

“I think the petition helped make people aware of the issue and added pressure for them to make a change,” she added.

A spokesman for MCC said the council is in the process of informing families about its revised policy, which will come into effect at cemeteries in Llanfoist, Llanelly, Bulwark and Osbaston.

The new policy will allow “certain movable items to be positioned.”

Grave tributes will not be moved while changes to the policy are being made, the council confirmed.

Paul Matthews, chief executive of MCC, said: “We never take these issues lightly and recognise that all families grieve for and remember loved ones in different ways.

“Finding a perfect policy balance that recognises the expectations of everyone is tricky so for now we will not be moving items from graves.

“We will be in further contact with families shortly where loved ones are buried at our cemeteries in Llanfoist, Llanelly, Bulwark and Osbaston.

“It would be great if we can find a solution that suits everyone that can be fairly and consistently applied at our four sites.”