Fury over care of churchyards after cutbacks in Dudley

Volunteers at churchyards in the borough have slammed the council's decision to reduce the amount of times graveyards are trimmed.

Council workers maintain the graveyard at St Andrew's Church in Netherton
Council workers maintain the graveyard at St Andrew's Church in Netherton

A total of 20 closed churchyards, many of which are home to military graves, are now cut just twice a year instead of seven in a bid to save the cash-strapped council money.

Councillor Susan Ridney said reducing the amount of times the cemeteries are trimmed is 'not good enough' and chiefs need to rethink.

Closed churchyards that are maintained by the council include St Andrew's in Netherton, St Michaels in Brierley Hill, Sedgley Old Cemetery, St John's in Kates Hill, Dudley and Christ Church in Lye.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for environmental services, said: “The council is responsible for maintaining 20 closed C of E churchyards, many of which came into the council’s care decades ago.

"When the council adopts closed churchyards, it does so without any extra funding for maintenance and we have continued to provide maintenance over many years, despite reduced budgets.

“Last year Dudley Council approved a budget cut to reduce the strimming regime on closed churchyards from seven cuts a year to two as we look to make the authority as efficient as possible.

“We are continuing to liaise with the Church of England diocese and where in place, work with local community groups to support maintenance works.

"Any residents wanting to set up their own community group or arrange a one-off community event should get in touch via Dudley Council Plus to find out what support we can offer.”

Earlier this year campaigners of a Dudley church revealed that security cameras could be installed in their churchyard after yobs were caught urinating against a war memorial.

Louts had also been spotted spitting and vomiting by the plaque to First World War heroes at St John's Church, in Kates Hill.

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