Eastbourne Conservatives complain over ‘disrespectful’ cemetery grass-cutting approach

Eastbourne Conservative councillors have complained that the council’s wildflower initiative is leading to overgrown cemeteries in the town.

Monday, 6th September 2021, 11:23 am

Eastbourne Conservative councillors have complained that the council’s wildflower initiative is leading to overgrown cemeteries in the town.

A spokesperson from the Eastbourne Conservative group said, “Whilst Eastbourne Conservative councillors agree with the overall initiative of allowing wildflowers and beneficial insects to flourish by encouraging wildlife corridors and promoting biodiversity, they are incensed by the lack of thought with the ‘one size fits all’ policy of this LibDem administration.

“Certainly there are areas of the borough where this is appropriate but, more importantly, there are areas where it most definitely is not.

Ocklynge Cemetery. Picture from Eastbourne Conservatives SUS-210609-105733001

“Not cutting recreational areas where children play and residents walk, means these once open spaces can no longer be enjoyed, and leaving cemeteries unkempt is disrespectful.”

Councillor Penny di Cara, deputy leader of the Conservative group said, “It is not acceptable to allow places such as Ocklynge Cemetery to become so overgrown.

“I know of at least one lady who was distraught because she could not find her son’s grave. I would not like to think that this is an excuse to save money in the name of biodiversity.”

A spokesperson from Eastbourne Borough Council said, “The overwhelming response from residents to the wildflower areas across Eastbourne has been very positive. People have been delighted to see the variety of flowers, and the bees, butterflies and other insects visiting them.

Ocklynge Cemetery. Picture from Eastbourne Conservatives SUS-210609-111657001

“The public support has included numerous comments on social media and the sharing of wildflower images that have been posted by the council.

“In 2019, the council declared a climate emergency and committed to deliver a carbon neutral town by 2030.

“Earlier this year, we published its biodiversity strategy and accompanying action plan to enable the council to work with the community in a coordinated way to support greater plant and animal life.

“This builds on the council’s adoption of a pollinator strategy and pesticide policy two years ago.

Ocklynge Cemetery. Picture from Eastbourne Conservatives SUS-210609-105743001

“Like many other councils, including East Sussex County Council and their management of the verges and roundabouts, the mowing timetable was changed to give wildflowers the opportunity to flourish and to set seed, meaning the grasses will become less prevalent.

“However, if a family member would like a path and the area around a grave cut, they can contact the council and this will be arranged as soon as possible.”