05:50PM, Thursday 09 September 2021
Yet more concerns have been raised over the state of the borough’s cemeteries by residents and visitors from out of town.
Over the past several weeks, The Advertiser has heard complaints from residents regarding All Saints and Braywick cemeteries in particular.
At the end of July, the Borough said that it was encountering ‘unforeseen and temporary resourcing and equipment issues’ but that its contractors would visit All Saints within the next week.
However, the problem persists.
Valerie Blackwell visited from out of town in August to tend the grave of her great-grandfather and Maidenhead resident John Theophilus Scott.
She discovered that the graves on the side bordering All Saints Avenue were ‘buried’ by grass, as were the Commonwealth War Graves.
“The overgrown boundary bordering All Saints Road now totally covers all the old graves,” she said.
“It is appalling. The council should be ashamed that something within its jurisdiction is left so unattended.”
Valerie notes that while some sections of the grass have indeed been cut, others have not.
She added that this was not the first time she has expressed ‘bitter disappointment’ to the council over this issue.
“This has been going on since at least 2018,” she said.
“I have no doubt it is simply penny pinching by an affluent and prestigious borough and it is not good enough. It is all shameful.”
Valerie also tried to alert Theresa May to the problem but as she is from another constituency, ‘strict parliamentary protocol’ means only her own local MP can intervene on her behalf, even though it is a Maidenhead issue.
Other residents have noted issues with grass verges, including roads around Holyport, and the bypass and roundabout from Maidenhead to Bisham.
The turning into Burchetts Green from the A4 and the junction of Pinkneys Green and Henley Road have also been described by residents as ‘dangerous’ because of vegetation obscuring lines of sight.
On Monday, Councillor David Coppinger, cabinet member for environmental services, apologised to residents over the state of the borough’s public grass spaces, particularly cemeteries.
In a meeting of Maidenhead Town Forum, Cllr Coppinger said the maintenance of the grass across the borough has been ‘totally unsatisfactory.’
“Members (of the council) have quite rightly called this contract into overview and scrutiny to be explored and people brought to task,” he said.
He said that the issue was due to a number of common factors affecting many such operations across the country this year – including the ‘complete reversal’ of UK’s climate and the severe reduction in the labour pool.
“Whatever, the performance has not been acceptable and I apologise to every single resident affected, especially where the problem has been in our cemeteries and other areas of remembrance,” Cllr Coppinger said.
A spokesman for the Royal Borough said: “Grass at the cemetery (All Saints) was cut in August, with crews working to catch-up on grass-cutting as soon as possible, and we’d like to thank residents for their patience and understanding.”