MEMORIALS for people killed in road accidents have become an increasingly common sight in the borough.
As the grieving process stretches over years and months, bereaved family and friends can find solace at the scene of the fatal accident which claimed their loved one, and over time it is adopted as a significant, permanent grieving place.
A tree in Elm Avenue, Ruislip, has been made a public memorial to 17-year-old Jack King, who died after a crash in 2010.
In Kingshill Avenue, near the gates of Hayes Rugby Club, there is a similar memorial for Ashley Critchfield, who died in an accident there in August 2006.
Flowers and ornaments can be seen at the top of Hillingdon Hill, as people pay their respects to Lisa Clubb, who died in a collision with a car in August 2011.
There is now a named plaque at a nearby crossing, as well as a speed sign, resulting from a successful campaign by her family.
Hillingdon Council has its own guidelines on how to handle roadside memorials which appear on its land, providing a loose framework while acknowledging the high emotion and sensitivities involved. The rules mainly apply to larger memorials on crossings, pavements and verges, which could pose a hazard to drivers, as opposed to those with less ornamental furniture.
Memorials are allowed to remain for 13 months after an accident, so the bereaved can commemorate the first anniversary of the death at the site.
After that the council will make efforts to contact the bereaved family, often through the police’s family liaison unit, to arrange for items to be removed.
Although most memorials will only be maintained in the months immediately after an incident, some become permanent touchstones throughout the year for people who are grieving a loved one, particularly on an anniversary.
Should a scene become a ‘traditional’ meeting place, the council says it will not intervene unless the memorial itself is ‘unsightly’ and poses some risk.
The council guidance reads: ‘Families are always encouraged to regard roadside memorials not as permanent but as temporary tributes to remain in place and be tended for a reasonable period as part of the grieving process.’
Each case is treated on its merits, and the thoughts of people in the immediate vicinity will often be sought and taken into account.
A more ‘robust approach’ is taken if the memorial causes upset to the wider public.
The council’s residents services investigation team, which deals with street environment matters, will take ornaments for storage at Breakspear Crematorium, where there are dedicated grounds for remembrance.
Council officers encourage memorials in these spaces, where name plaques, rose bushes and benches are made available.
? Do you visit a roadside memorial and pay your respects?
Do you think memorials should be confined to crematoria and cemeteries?
Email your views to email@example.com.