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Mourners tearful at cemetery state

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By Abbey Morton
Lockerbie and Lochmaben

WARM, wet weather has seen cemetery grass, and complaints, shoot up.

Earlier this month Lochmaben Community Council raised concerns about the workmanship of grass cutting at the new cemetery, with headstone being left crusted with grass.

Chairwoman Pam Linton said then: “It is really terrible, grass is sprayed right up the stones. “People take flowers and it’s a complete waste of time because as soon as the grass is cut they are covered in clippings and ruined.

“They are not even cutting where they can.

“It got a little bit better last year, after we had a meeting with DG First, but it is bad again.”

And this week she added: “It is a disgrace, one woman goes up every week to lay fresh flowers for her husband and she’s about in tears with the mess.

“You have to go armed with water, a cloth and shears to tidy it up yourself.”

Echoing her calls for more attention to detail, member Jim Davidson said: “They were at the Townhead the other day and after they cut it they blew it all over the pavement and the road and because it was wet it stuck.

“The whole place was green and very slippy.

“If they just blew it back onto the grass it would be so much better.”

Explaining and defending the situation, a Dumfries and Galloway Council spokesman offered a further meeting with the group.

And he said: “Open cemeteries should be cut up to 15 times per year and closed cemeteries three times.

“Staff are currently cutting the grass to schedule, weather dependant.

“We are sorry to hear that the community council has concerns about the appearance of the cemeteries in its area.

“The council has operated a ‘cut and leave’ policy in cemeteries for a number of years, which can mean that clippings occasionally land on and around headstones.

“Unfortunately, we simply do not have resources to ‘cut and lift’ or to clean headstones after mowing the grass.”

Following comments that some cemeteries get preferential treatment, Annandale North Councillor Stephen Thompson said: “Despite what we may perceive, all of our active cemeteries are maintained to the same standard of cutting.

“If it has been longer between cuts due to weather conditions then there may be more grass cuttings, but generally everywhere should be treated the same.

“The council team is happy to discuss working with local volunteers and community groups and this has been very useful with the likes of litter-picking and weeding in some locations.”


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