Anger as volunteers locked out of Sedgley graveyard by Dudley Council 'without consultation'

Dedicated volunteers who have been cleaning up a historic Sedgley graveyard have been locked out by Dudley Council.

The notice informing volunteers the graveyard was closed
The notice informing volunteers the graveyard was closed

The Friends of All Saints Church have been nominated for awards due to their hard work and commitment but can no longer enter the graveyard "for their own safety".

The volunteers were greeted this morning with locked gates and a notice saying the All Saints Church graveyard would be closed for the foreseeable future.

Lizzie Templeton, from the Friends, said: "What I find completely unacceptable is there was no consultation just a phone call saying this is going to happen we are closing the graveyard.

"We are still awaiting proper clarification in writing as to who made this decision and why where is their risk assessment."

She added: "We have been given no timescale as to when our volunteers can get back on site. I am completely heartbroken by the decision of the council their disregard for the work that is being done.

"We came runners up last year in the pride of Dudley Award due to the dedication and hard work of the volunteers I am once again appalled by the lack of communication considerations and respect shown by Dudley MBC towards our committee and volunteers."

More than 40 people complained about the closure on Facebook describing the treatment of the volunteers as "disgusting" and "awful".

However, Dudley Council defended its decision to close the graveyard due to safety concerns.

Councillor Shaz Saleem, cabinet member for highways and public realm, said: "Following a recent inspection, a number of graves and memorials in the churchyard have been identified as unsafe.

"As a result we have had to close it to the public. I want to reassure people that we hope this will only be a temporary measure."

He added: "We are working with contractors to undertake the necessary works to ensure safety for visitors and will be doing all we can to get the churchyard back open as soon as possible."

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