COUNCIL chiefs have apologised after concerns were raised over the ‘overgrown’ state of St John’s cemetery which in some cases has seen grass and weeds encroaching on graves.
Worcester City Council vowed to take action ‘without delay’ after alarm bells were raised by an elderly resident who contacted the Observer after a distressing visit last week.
The pensioner, who didn’t wish to be named, said the perimeter of the cemetery had been cut but not between the graves where the grass and weeds were in some cases six to eight inches high.
“I know times are hard for the council but to me there are some things they should do automatically as the state of some of the areas around graves was upsetting,” she said.
“I go every week to my husband’s grave but I can’t take anything like strimmers with me otherwise I would do it myself. I’ve spoken to some people there who have been trying to maintain the cemetery themselves but they can’t do it all.
“We had a lot of rain last week but this has been going on for a while now and it’s not good enough,” she added.
Her concerns were echoed by Coun Alan Amos who visits the cemetery regularly to tend to the grave of a family member and said the lack of maintenance was ‘completely unacceptable’.
“I have raised this matter at the very highest level at the City Council over recent weeks but as of today (Wednesday) there has been no maintenance of the grounds for some four weeks, and this is the height of the growing season,” he said.
“Indeed, the grass and weeds are now so overgrown you can’t even see some of the graves. This is going to make it extraordinarily difficult when they do start some maintenance.
“People have resorted to doing their own cut-backs which have made the cemetery look very haphazard and disorganized with boundaries often not being respected.
“This is completely unacceptable as there is no need or excuse for it. Maintaining a cemetery is a basic function of the council.
“It is absolutely appalling resources are not being put in to maintain it in the tip-top condition it deserves, especially when the council always manages to find money for gypsies and vagrants who get immediate help all the time, yet cannot look after and show respect for the departed,” he added.
In response, a city council spokesman said: “We would like to apologise for any unintended upset caused to this lady and offer reassurance we do take complaints about the state of our cemeteries very seriously.
“We are now bringing in additional resources without delay. Visitors to our cemeteries will begin to see improvements very shortly.”
* What do you think? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your views.