A row over regular maintenance of Trowbridge’s biggest cemetery has concluded with an agreement to cut the grass on both sides.

The Friends of The Down Cemetery had been at loggerheads with Trowbridge Town Council over the number of times the grass would be cut during the mowing season.

The volunteers who help to maintain it want the grass to be cut on both sides on a regular basis, while the town council wanted part of it to be rewilded.

Robert Wall, chairman of The Friends of The Down Cemetery, said: “The town council has now agreed that the grass should be cut on a regular bases in both sides of the cemetery.

“This is great news and show that the Friends of The Down are making a difference.

READ MORE: Vintage Nostalgia Festival turns the clock back to previous decades

This Is Wiltshire: Image: Trevor Porter 77099 -3Image: Trevor Porter 77099 -3 (Image: Trevor Porter)

“There will be a new conservation cut area, similar to the area left to nature on the conformist side, now on the non-conformist side, no marked graves will be in these areas.

“This new policy will take some time to complete as new machinery is being ordered , so please bear with the Friends of The Down Cemetery and Trowbridge Town Council while we try to bring the cemetery back to being one of the jewels in the Crown of Trowbridge.

“I would like to thank Cemetery Ranger John for his hard work in keeping the new part of the cemetery in a much better condition than it was left by Wiltshire Council , and hope to see this reflected in the Victorian part soon.

“I will keep you updated with any new developments as they happen.”

The Friends have been working in partnership with Trowbridge Town Council to keep the cemetery clean and tidy since the council assumed control.

The town council only took over the cemetery management on April 1 following a ‘all or nothing’ service transfer agreement with Wiltshire Council.

The town council also took over street cleaning, litter and grounds maintenance services from April 1 2023.

Before the contract with Wiltshire Council was signed, Conservative town councillor Edward Kirk raised concerns about the cost of maintaining the cemetery.

Last year he said he feared it could become a ‘black hole’ that could cost the town council up to £100,000 a year to maintain.

SEE ALSO: Canal and River Trust warns historic networks 'under threat'

This Is Wiltshire: The entrance to The Down Cemetery in Trowbridge. Image: Trevor PorterThe entrance to The Down Cemetery in Trowbridge. Image: Trevor Porter (Image: Trevor Porter)

He said: “It is clear to all, that Trowbridge Town Council, despite having over a year to plan for the transfer of the Cemetery, completely failed. To not have the equipment, like lawnmowers or staff in place at time of the transfer is unforgivable.

“The LibDem Trowbridge Town Council not only agreed, but actually wanted to take this work on and provided a firm assurance that they would provide the same or a better service than Wiltshire Council and their professional contractor.

“Trowbridge Town Council also ignored my motion to obtain commercial bids for the work, so they cannot clearly demonstrate best value in relation to contract.

“I sincerely hope that Trowbridge Town Council now accept their mistakes and act quickly to resolve the situation.”

But the council’s Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr Stewart Palmen, said: “It is good that we now have an agreed approach to how the cemetery will be maintained going forward and we are forever thankful for the superb work that The Friends of the Down Cemetery do tirelessly.

“It has taken us some time to get the right balance of cutting and conservation, but I am now sure we have a sustainable route forwards.”