Sidmouth Cemetery ‘is like a wasteland’

Overgrown-Sidmouth cemetary on Tuesday. Ref shs 23-16SH 7612. Picture: Simon Horn.

Overgrown-Sidmouth cemetary on Tuesday. Ref shs 23-16SH 7612. Picture: Simon Horn. - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Cemetery has been allowed to grow into a ‘disgusting’ and ‘terrible’ state like a ‘wasteland’.

Those are the words of one Sidmouth town councillor.

At the latest Sidmouth Town Council meeting on Monday (June 6), Councillor Jack Brokenshire said he visited the town’s graveyard and found it in a ‘disgusting state’, looking like it had ‘not been touched in years’.

He claimed in some parts the grass was as high as the top of his leg.

Cllr Brokenshire said: “If somebody goes up there to visit their loved one and put flowers on the grave, they expect a decent sort of cemetery, but it is like a wasteland.

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“I am not talking about recent growth; I know it is summer, but what I am talking about is probably years’ worth… It is in a terrible state.”

Speaking at the meeting, Councillor John Dyson added at this time of year he got numerous people complaining about the state of the overgrowth on footpaths.

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He added: “It is a time of growth during the year and, in fact, every footpath looks a bit of a mess now.

“It is the biggest growth at this time of year and maybe before their regular normal trimming has taken place – it is perfectly reasonable and understandable, we should just bare in mind the timeframe.”

An East Devon District Council spokesman said the spring flush had been late this year, so they were experiencing a sudden rush of grass growth across all the areas they managed in East Devon.

She added, the team, who were one ‘man’ down because of a vacancy which they were currently recruiting for, were working hard to keep on top of the vegetal surge. The grass in the top half of Sidmouth cemetery, as well as part of the bottom half, including the old part of the cemetery, has already been cut by our StreetScene operatives, who are due to finish cutting the remainder of the cemetery by the end of this week,” she said.

“The old section of the cemetery, south of the chapel, is only cut four times a year, so its appearance would look long to the casual observer.

“This management regime is to encourage biodiversity and save costs in a section which is less frequently accessed.”

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