THE LICKEY Church warden has defended the current appearance of the cemetery extension and assured readers they take the upkeep of the graveyard as seriously as that of the main church.
Nick Fornell investigated complaints made by families unhappy with the state of the cemetery off Twatling Road and who did not accept the plans to make it into a wild meadow. They claimed the area had been left overgrown, saying the grass and weeds were so high it made it difficult for them to get to their loved ones headstones.
Rev Margaret Brighton said the area was under the God’s Acre programme and was just at an ‘in between stage’ before it became meadow but Julia Davies, Betty Cannon and Steve Ward said the cemetery had looked this way for years.
Mr Fornell said when funding was cut by Bromsgrove District council it was left to the parish council to find the means to keep the area maintained, but the graveyard was difficult to mow and maintain because, unlike the church grounds, it had uneven stones and paths.
In 2013 the programme began and Plug Plants were spread through the cemetery. Mr Fornell added, in 2014 the church made residents aware they could pay £25 to have individual plots mowed.
In 2015 they planted yellow rattle flowers which they expected to have bloomed but they had not, so they would be sewing more seeds towards the end of the year.
He said people should appreciate that the church was hard-pressed on occasions to support and maintain two churches, Holy Trinity, Lickey and St Catherine’s, Blackwell, together with the Trinity Centre at Lickey and the Wheel at Blackwell.
“Believe me you can’t just pop in to B&Q to get a few cut-price stones to mend a church.
“Yes, we get an income from weddings, funerals, users of the halls and, occasionally, a legacy but it’s becoming more and more difficult to make ends meet.
“I can assure you, and your readers, there is absolutely no intention on the part of the church to discriminate between the cemetery extension and the churchyard. They are treated differently purely because they have different layouts and requirements, and are used differently.”