We'll deal with overgrown cemetery, vows new council

OVERGROWJN: Astwood Cemetery in Worcester

OVERGROWJN: Astwood Cemetery in Worcester

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

THE new Tory leadership at Worcester City Council has pledged to make the cemetery a site to be proud of once again - saying a new maintenance plan will be put in place.

Councillor Andy Roberts, the new cabinet member for cleaner and greener, told your Worcester News he will "accelerate" work to restore the land its former glories.

The Conservative went to inspect the site on Friday and admitted he was shocked by the poor state of Astwood Cemetery, which has led to many families contacting us.

Cllr Roberts toured the graves with former city politician Mike Layland, now chairman of the Cemeteries Liaison Committee, and says an urgent plan will be adopted.

"What I want to do is reassure people who have loved ones in the cemetery that we are working on it," he said.

"We are putting a plan in place and we're looking to accelerate that as quickly as possible.

"When I went around with Mike Layland you only had to look at the military graves below the grass level, and the children's graves, to realise it needs to be tackled, especially this year.

"The team working at the cemetery has been under strength, there is work to be done."

Last week the city council blamed the wet weather for much of the problems, saying the downpours had put the cutters four weeks behind schedule.

The new Conservative leadership says as budgets were underspent in the last financial year, they believe there is spare cash to plough into making some additional improvements.

Councillor Marc Bayliss, the deputy leader, said: "We don't think the condition of the cemetery is acceptable.

"We are investigating what the cause of it is and will be putting it right - that cemetery is so important to people."

The cemetery, in Tintern Avenue, also features a Garden of Remembrance for fallen veterans.

Cllr Roberts is also trying to arrange talks with the various voluntary groups which help Worcester's cleaner and greener department, like the allotments forum, to see what they want from the new-look council.

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