Grass will be cut in Huntingdon cemetery

TOWN councillors have agreed to cut the grass in Huntingdon’s Priory Road cemetery.

It followed a report in The Hunts Post, in which former mayor Doug McIlwain described the state of the cemetery as “disrespectful”.

Huntingdon Town Council met on Thursday evening last week, where Mayor Colin Hyams proposed the grass should be cut – one day after the story had been printed

It had been the council’s policy to leave the grass uncut, to encourage the growth of wildflowers and improve biodiversity. The idea had been suggested by last year’s Anglia in Bloom judges and was implemented in time for this year’s competition.

However, councillors meeting in the town hall heard that judges this year would not be visiting that cemetery as part of their tour of Huntingdon.

Cllr Hyams said: “I went along to the cemetery to see what has happened. We all know how it happened but it’s a personal thing and many people don’t think it’s the correct place. What I’m proposing is at the next grass cutting, we cut the grass there accordingly.”

Another former mayor, Alan Mackender-Lawrence, defended the policy and said that school children who had been invited to plant wildflowers in the cemetery would be disappointed to see their work destroyed.

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He added: “I’m very much against cutting it until after the season of bloom.”

Deputy mayor Bill Hensley described the state of the cemetery as “very disrespectful” and added: “I feel that after the judging has taken place it should be cut back. It was a good idea, it’s just in the wrong place.”

Despite his personal opinion, Cllr Hyams said he was concerned that the council would seem to be “reacting to someone putting items in the local news”.

He added: “I feel we are being held to ransom.”

Labour councillor Patrick Kadewere said: “It’s our duty as councillors to ensure maintenance is being done in all areas, regardless of the judges coming or not.”

A majority voted in favour of cutting the grass, which will be done at the next scheduled cutting in a few weeks’ time.

Mr McIlwain, who now lives in Ramsey, told councillors after the decision he had not intended to “hold the council to ransom”.

He said: “I will use whatever means I can… I had contacted three councillors and a council officer and the message that came back to me was ‘tough, it’s council policy’.”