DISTRESSED relatives and friends of people buried at Trowbridge Cemetery say it is a mess because of a lack of grass cutting. Mary Holloway, who lives in Marston Road, Trowbridge, said she is just one of a number of visitors to the cemetery who have started taking a hand mower to cut the grass surrounding graves of family and friends.
Mrs Holloway, 66, looks after the graves of both her son, who died in December last year, and her mother, who has been buried at the cemetery since 2002, but insists that it has never been in worse condition. The cemetery is maintained by Wiltshire Council’s highway contractor Balfour Beatty Living Places which has come under fire from residents and councillors recently over its failure to cut grass. The contractor has apologised for the state of the cemetery.
Mrs Holloway said: “I spoke to a young lad who was up there cutting it recently and he couldn’t apologise enough, but he said he had never done a cemetery. It needs doing regularly this time of year, but that is not happening and it constantly looks in bad condition. I only lost my son at Christmas and it’s not nice to see it like that. “It’s very upsetting going up there. It’s ridiculous to see the grass so untidy and you wouldn’t know it was a cemetery if it wasn’t for the gravestones.”
A council scrutiny committee investigated a controversial £150 million contract, taken on by Balfour Beatty in June 2013 when residents complained about uncut verges and hedgerows. The report from the scrutiny committee in January said the contractor’s performance was satisfactory, but highlighted areas for improvement. Trowbridge town and Wiltshire councillor Jeff Osborn said: “You would have thought that they could at least keep the cemetery tidy out of a sense of respect... Balfour Beatty really needs to get a grip.”
A council spokesman said Balfour Beatty had apologised for not cutting the grass and was deploying extra dedicated teams to put it right, with cutting to take place fortnightly.