Cemetery 'in a hell of a state' as wildlife scheme criticised
- Credit: Scott Barnard
A council has been branded "disrespectful" after a nature scheme in a town's cemetery.
Beccles Cemetery is one of 100 dedicated wild spaces as part of East Suffolk Council's 'Pardon the weeds, we're feeding the bees' campaign, aimed at boosting wildlife in areas used less frequently.
Scott Barnard, from Beccles, has criticised the cemetery's inclusion in the scheme, which returned for a third year this spring.
He said: "My grandparents are buried in the same plot at Beccles Cemetery, but we are having to cut around the grave, and you can't see some of the older headstones because of the weeds.
"These are people's final resting place so should be maintained, but it is in a hell of a state. It's heart-breaking to see.
"I think it's quite disrespectful.
"My mum went up to the cemetery recently and got so upset she went home and got her gardening tools.
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"I went to help her and tidy it up because my 60-year-old mother shouldn't have to get on her hands and knees to visit her parents.
"As you look around there is a plot where someone has been buried recently and they have just cut a path through 6ft grass to get to it.
"I am all for the scheme, and people might see it differently to me, but cemeteries should be kept tidy and respectful."
Churchyards and cemeteries in Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth, Kirkley, Lowestoft and Southwold all featured in the scheme, as well as a number of open spaces including Highleas Close, Puddingmoor Slopes, St Mary Paddock, and The Dell, in Beccles.
An East Suffolk Council spokesperson said: “We always endeavour to maintain cemeteries appropriately to ensure burial spaces remain accessible for bereaved families.
“The cemetery in Beccles is among conservation areas where less frequently used areas are given over for wildlife, with longer periods allowed between grass cutting to allow plants and insects to thrive.
“Grass adjacent to main paths is kept short and managed in a way to allow access to regularly attended graves.
"Visitors can also request pathways to be additionally cut to burial spaces, if required, by contacting East Suffolk Norse.”