TWO Worcester councillors are involved in a dispute over the city's cemetery - with one claiming it is in "excellent condition" but a rival rubbishing his stance.

Councillor Geoff Williams, the former deputy leader of the old Labour administration, says he's been to see Astwood Cemetery himself and believes it is well kept.

He says criticism over the site's state has been overblown, despite several families contacting your Worcester News with concerns.

But Tory Councillor Marc Bayliss, the new deputy leader, says the Labour man should be "ashamed" of the cemetery's condition and has labelled the defence "ridiculous".

Cllr Williams, speaking to the Conservative cabinet in a meeting, said: "I've walked around the cemetery myself and the area on one side of the site, the newer part of it, up the hill is in excellent condition.

"I then walked over to the older part of the cemetery, and that section has always been fairly unkempt.

"I have also spoken to people who have had nothing but praise for the cemetery and the staff that work within it."

The condition of the cemetery has caused concern for several weeks, especially around the length of the grass.

Last month we reported how 73-year-old Sylvia Hayes, from Weston-super- Mare was confronted by 4ft tall grass which obscured the grave of her brother, Kenneth Meek, when visiting the cemetery where her mother is also buried.

And Janet Whyte, 75, who lives in Droitwich and has her parents, grandparents and brother laid to rest at the cemetery, said she felt angry when she saw the overgrown grass and used her own shears to deal with some of it.

The new Tory leadership says it is accelerating plans to restore the condition of the entire plot.

Cllr Bayliss contacted your Worcester News after the cabinet meeting to say his rival "should be ashamed" by the site.

"I went there to see it for myself and the grass levels were ridiculous," he added.

"I found his comments incredible."

Councillor Simon Geraghty, city council leader, said: "I think we're unhappy with the service standards being delivered - they will be improved, it will take time but this is one of the priorities for the new administration."

* What do you think about Astwood Cemetery at the moment? Contact or call 01905 742248.