Concerns raised over repeat of cemeteries overgrowth

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

A former council officer has warned the Royal Borough it may be heading towards a repeat of last year’s significant overgrowth in its cemeteries.

Last year, several residents expressed disgust over the very long grass in the borough’s public spaces, including All Saints and Braywick cemeteries.

Steve Anderson once worked for the Royal Borough as its outdoor facilities manager.

He has flagged up the possibility of the maintenance situation getting out of control again this year.

He said: “At Braywick, the grass is already a foot high in places.

“The cutting is supposed to be weekly and they are four to six weeks behind.”

He also raised concerns about the state of Windsor Cemetery (also known as Spital Cemetery) back in January – and earlier this week other visitors lamented the length of the grass via Facebook.

The borough’s cemeteries are trimmed and tidied by its contractors, Tivoli.

He said he did not believe the Borough was getting value for money from its contract.

“I’m trying to help the council do its job,” he said.

Cllr David Coppinger, lead member for environmental services, parks & countryside and Maidenhead, said that the grass-cutting situation is ‘a major item we’ve got to improve on’.

He said officers are ‘working closely’ with Tivoli to meet the needs of the contract.

Last year, Cllr Coppinger made an apology in a council meeting to residents about the state of the cemeteries and their upkeep.

“I turned Serco around and I will turn this around too – but it’s taking longer than I would like,” he said.

Cllr Coppinger also gave assurances that he would not let the cemeteries get into the same state as they were last year.

“The number of cuts carried out each year to keep the grass up to an acceptable standard depends on a number of factors,” he said.

“These include the length of the growing season, the rate at which the grass is growing, which is dependent on weather conditions, and ground conditions.

“Last year, we recognise that there were issues with the service provided by Tivoli and that it fell below the standard that we would expect.

“These included unforeseen and temporary resourcing and equipment issues and the extended growing season.

“Grass cutting in Braywick Cemetery has started and this is being kept to the standard we would expect,” he said.

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