ANGRY families have hit out at the over-grown state of Lickey Church cemetery.
For years families have protested against the way Lickey Church maintains the graveyard, off Twatling Road.
Betty Cannon whose parents are buried in the churchyard said plants, flowers and grass were so long by the graves it had become a health and safety hazard.
“Me and my sister have been visiting our parents’ headstone in the cemetery for over eight years.
“Every single time we go it looks like a complete wasteland, we often fall over potholes because we can’t even see our feet when we walk.
“Anyone who has mobility issues – like me – will really struggle to visit their loved ones.
“The church refuses to do anything about it because it says the cemetery is part of the Caring for God Acres programme and say they have no money but I refuse to believe that because they have not long refurbished the church.”
Julia Davies, whose mum, dad and other relatives buried in the churchyard, is also concerned about the state it is in.
“I have complained that many times and no-one has done anything about it.
“There’s no respect for the people buried there or their families who visit.
“There’s war graves there as well.
“It breaks my heart when I see it.”
Caring for God’s Acre is a national charity dedicated to the conservation of burial grounds.
They give advice on how special places can be managed, whilst preserving the heritage and encouraging them to be havens for wildlife.
Rev Paul Clarke, the Community Minister at Lickey Church, said: “The idea is to promote plant growth so wildlife in the area can thrive.
“Unfortunately there is not much we can do about it.
“The wardens cut the long roots by the entrance and the pathways in-between the headstones to make sure people can gain access.”
We contacted Andrea Gilpin, Caring for God’s Acres’ communications and development manager.
She said: “If the graves are actively visited then the grass around them should be kept short.
“Conservation in churchyards is about active management, not neglect.
“We have lost many special habitats since the 1930s and because of this we advise some areas of a churchyard are left to grow long for around 12 weeks of the year to allow the flowers to grow.
“However, the choice of where to leave the grass to grow long needs sensitive consideration.”
The organisation always advises grass around visited memorials and war graves to be kept short all-year-round.