Residents tidy up cemetery after it was 'neglected' by council

Frustrated residents tidied up a cemetery themselves after it was “neglected” by their local council, a councillor has said.

Saltburn Cemetery
Saltburn Cemetery

Councillor Stuart Smith said residents in Saltburn “took matters into their own hands” by cutting the grass at the town’s cemetery.

Coun Smith, a former beat bobby in Saltburn, said he could not disagree with their actions and claimed the “whole area is a disgrace”.

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Following a complaint from Coun Smith, council workers have subsequently visited the site, off Marske Road, to cut the grass and tidy up the site.

Coun Smith said he previously inspected the cemetery after council chiefs said it would be visited one day last week, but found it had not been touched.

He also said he had to try and defend the council after being confronted by an emotional and angry resident whose loved one was laid to rest in the cemetery.

In his complaint, Coun Smith said: “The street furniture within the cemetery looks abandoned, neglected and in some cases need repairs. There is detritus throughout, the cemetery has clearly not had a sweeper or been swept since the winter period.

“When will all of these matters be addressed, please? I thought we had a small team that worked within the cemeteries to keep them to the required dignified standard we would expect of a cemetery.”

Earlier this year councillors complained it would “cost more to die” in Redcar and Cleveland after various bereavement-related charges went up in the borough, including buying a space for a grave and the interment of ashes.

A spokesman for the council said: “The council’s horticultural teams work to maintain and improve all our cemeteries, parks, roadside verges and all other public spaces all year round.

“It can be difficult on occasions to deal with a wide range of service demands at the same time, and as some operations are carried out for safety reasons, these have to be a priority.

“However, we absolutely understand the importance of maintaining Saltburn Cemetery for visitors to loved ones’ graves and, although our teams did not work on the cemetery [on the day in question], the grass was cut and the cemetery tidied up the next day.

“We will continue to ensure the cemetery and all other open spaces are properly maintained.”