Sidmouth Cemetery grass disgrace

BEREAVED families are resorting to cutting grass around relative s graves in Sidmouth Cemetery because they say East Devon District Council leaves it too long between mowings.

BEREAVED families are resorting to cutting grass around relative's graves in Sidmouth Cemetery because they say East Devon District Council leaves it too long between mowings.

Brian Foulkes from Lower Farthings, Newton Poppleford, has written to Sidmouth District Councillor Stuart Hughes asking him to take up the issue.

Brian's son Mark is buried at the cemetery and he and wife Val visit his grave two or three times a week.

He said: "In April I contacted Mark Pollard at EDDC to complain about the length of grass at the cemetery. At that time the grass had not been cut since November 7, 2008."

He said Mr Pollard, parks development officer, arranged for the grass to be cut on April 28.

Brian said he was told the grass was cut every two or three weeks.

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"I said this was untrue and queried why the grass at the Knowle always looked so good.

"When it is three inches long and cut, wet the grass spatters and sticks to graves. It is left lying in clumps.

"It is so disgusting a woman pays to have the grass round her husband's grave cut. Why should it be down to relatives to do this?"

Brian, the second to complain to the Sidmouth Herald about the state of the cemetery grass, said: "It is no use EDDC going on about lack of resources when you look at their own backyard, which always looks good.

"Many people who visit graves have resorted to cutting their own plots as EDDC seems to have no interest in keeping the cemetery looking nice.

"Compared with Honiton Cemetery ours looks like a bomb site! It is very upsetting for people visiting to be surrounded by such an awful looking cemetery."

He has passed dates of when the grass was cut, showing a five-plus week cycle, to Mr Hughes and asked him: "Do we not have some quality standard for care of the cemetery and if not why not?"

A spokesman for EDDC said its grass cutting schedule was carefully planned and prioritised in terms of frequency.

Bowling greens are cut frequently with a fine cut, while public parks are cut less frequently.

"Other public areas, such as open spaces and cemeteries, are cut less frequently again - usually between 12-15 times a year," he said.

Wet weather can delay mowing and a strimmer is used if the grass gets too long, or around gravestones where mowers cannot reach, which can spread cuttings.

He said EDDC had no objection to grave owners cutting the grass more frequently.

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