Grass 5ft high is stopping access to Suffolk cemetery

Diane Wheatley with the long grass at the cemetery at Melton Old Church

Diane Wheatley with the long grass at the cemetery at Melton Old Church - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Access to graves at a Suffolk cemetery is being blocked by grass that has been allowed to grow to create a wildlife habitat, according to the wife of a former psychiatric nurse buried there. 

Diane Wheatley said grass nearly 5ft high had stopped her from visiting the grave of her late husband Jack at Melton Old Church. 

Mrs Wheatley, who lives at Rendlesham, said when she contacted East Suffolk Council about the situation she was told the grass was being grown high to provide a habitat for bees and other wildlife.

Diane Wheatley with her husband Jack's grave surrounded by long grass

Diane Wheatley with her husband Jack's grave surrounded by long grass - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

She was told the council could cut the grass once a month, which is in an area of the cemetery mainly populated by older graves, while the grass around more recent burials tended to be better maintained. 

In addition, some graves had been moved to provide space for car parking at the cemetery. 

“I saw red that they had moved one or two headstones to accommodate parked cars. I thought ‘they can do that, yet I can’t get to my husband’s grave'.

“They said they are helping the bees and I don’t know how anyone can be so unkind as to let that happen,” Mrs Wheatley said. 

The long grass is being grown to create a wildlife habitat.

The long grass is being grown to create a wildlife habitat. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

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Her husband worked at St Audry’s Hospital in Melton prior to his death in January 2001, aged 72. 

A council spokesperson said: “Cemeteries are important to local communities and will always be maintained appropriately to ensure burial spaces remain accessible for bereaved families.  

“This cemetery is one of our conservation areas where less frequently used areas are given over for wildlife, with longer periods allowed between grass cutting to allow plants and insects to thrive. 

“We have an obligation to preserve and protect the environment, however, grass adjacent to main paths is kept short in all our cemeteries and is managed in a way to allow access to regularly attended graves.

“Visitors can also request additional cut pathways if required by contacting East Suffolk Norse. 

“We have been in contact with Mrs Wheatley to discuss her concerns.”