Plea to save 'special, historic graveyard' in Sedgley as secretary quits amid council frustration

"Don't let this magnificent, special historic place at the heart of Sedgley become abandoned and neglected again."

The graveyard before the cleaning up began
The graveyard before the cleaning up began

That is the plea of the now former secretary of a Sedgley group set up to transform an historic graveyard. She has now resigned to allow her the freedom to criticise the council.

The site, off Gospel End Street, not only is a special place for residents to remember loved ones but has a wealth of history including war graves and others of historic importance.

Lizzie Templeton along with fellow volunteers of All Saints Graveyard Committee have transformed the graveyard but were recently locked out by Dudley Council and has resigned to vent her frustration.

After locking the group out of the graveyard "for their own safety" in July the council relented and allowed them back on the site, however, now the group cannot continue their work unless they pay for another ecology survey.

She said: "I am no longer a committee member I can say things as I see them.

"The council in my view do not support the work of the group. At a recent meeting I attended they said an eco survey was necessary so the work of the group could be planned around the wildlife, plants and habitat. The group would be responsible for funding this survey. I questioned why the group would be responsible given we are simply volunteers not care takers of the site, they are."

She added: "They have done less than nothing since 2007. We have war graves and other graves of historic significance and a wealth of history if in view that needs to be loved, looked after and preserved.

"Don’t let this magnificent, special historic place at the heart of Sedgley become abandoned and neglected again. The council would love nothing more as it would mean they don’t have to spend money for example on memorials. They need say what they plan to do with the site."

Lizzie also is convinced there is a sabotage campaign being waged against the volunteer group.

She said: "Someone reported the group to the Health and Safety Executives which clearly put the wind up them. It is of course clear not everyone in Sedgley wants the work of the group to continue, and will do whatever they can to sabotage the project."

Councillor Shaz Saleem, cabinet member for highways and public realm, said: “We continue to work closely with the friends and appreciate their dedication to the care and maintenance of the graveyard.

"While the graveyard remains open to the public and the friends, we have asked that further clearance work be temporarily paused following various concerns raised with us by members of the public and the Health and Safety Executive.

"We have agreed a number of actions with the friends which will allow them to continue their work once completed. One action is to undertake a more detailed ecology survey to ensure any wildlife is protected and their habitats maintained and we are working with the friends to assist them with the necessary support and funding required."

Councillor Saleem said: "I can assure the friends that we remain committed to working with them to appropriately manage the graveyard. The graveyard remains under the ownership of the Diocese with the council having responsibility for maintenance."

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News