Contractor accused of a lack of respect

Press Releasein Local Authority

Maintenance staff at Uttoxeter Cemetery have been slammed for their "incompetence" after covering headstones with grass cuttings.

The news emerged after a furious resident accused staff at the town council-run cemetery of vandalism by neglecting to keep the stones clean, in a vicious letter to the authority.

The writer, who the town council is refusing to name, likened leaving the graves covered in grass to "dog fouling, graffiti, damage, anti-social behaviour and even theft".

The Uttoxeter resident also said the contractor, SJL Contracts, showed a "total lack of respect to the deceased and their families".

Town clerk Barry Holland said that the problem was caused by the "mulch" mowers used by SJL.

He said: "If the weather's wet and the groundsman can't mow for a few days, the grass gets too long and wet to use a conventional mower.

"So the mulch mowers have to be brought in to counter this problem. Unfortunately, they do tend to spew out a lot of grass.

"We have asked our groundsmen to perform an extra early mow. Hopefully this will eliminate the problem."

But Town ward representative Malcolm Barrett slammed the contractor's "incompetence" in not investing in better quality mowers.

Councillor Barrett said: "We have a contractor charged with keeping that cemetery in shape and it's no good him saying he's got the wrong type of tackle.

"The issue is that the contractor doesn't want to shell out for a new mower and I won't stand by and let this keep happening."

But David Brookes, also of the Town ward, said that the letter's author was over-reacting and extra cleaning work would be costly.

He said: "It is sad that people are getting upset about grass cuttings being left on graves.

"We do not have the money or resources to do things any better than we already do.

"If the people of Uttoxeter want a perfect service, they must know it can only be delivered at a considerable cost."

Source:-Uttoxeter Advertiser

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