Resident’s dismay at overgrown cemetery

Overgrown graves at Langney Cemetery SUS-140528-164415001
Overgrown graves at Langney Cemetery SUS-140528-164415001

An Eastbourne resident has asked for a ‘sense of decency’ to be restored to Langney Cemetery as it has become overgrown and messy.

Denise Craig visited the graveyard behind Eastbourne Crematorium last week and was shocked by the state in which she found it, with grass more than a foot tall in some areas.

She said, “My parents’ ashes were interred there some years ago and we visit regularly to tend their grave and indeed spend quiet, thoughtful times. However, on visiting the cemetery a couple of days ago we were totally appalled at the “field” before us.

“I chatted to a fellow mourner who visits the cemetery frequently and she said she had never seen it in such a disgusting state. The grass and weeds were nearly a foot tall. You could hardly see some of the graves. There were three gardeners on site at the time, strimming one of the grassed areas and all that was left behind was a heavy blanket of cut hay completely obliterating everything.

“The lady I spoke to said she, like others in the town, pay hefty community tax and indeed accepted that certain cutbacks had to be made, but surely the deceased in that cemetery and those that continue to mourn them can be shown some common decency by making it a more respectful area.”

A spokesperson for Eastbourne Borough Council said, “Due to unusually heavy rain earlier this year, we were unable to start cutting the grass on time because it was simply too waterlogged. In addition to this, we have enjoyed a spell of very warm weather so the grass has grown very fast.

“In order to avoid damaging gravestones we do not use lawnmowers around graves and instead use strimmers. As these do not have in-built collection facilities like lawnmowers, there are likely to be grass cuttings left on the ground.

“We are working hard to cut the grass as quickly as we can and extra resources have been earmarked to help speed up the process. Grass cutting is covered as part of contract operations across Langney and Ocklynge cemeteries and the crematorium, which cost £192,0000 a year. The grounds maintenance budget has not been reduced in the last 12 years. We apologise for any upset caused and we are committed to rectifying the situation.”