A local cemetery prized for its array of wildlife is being ‘destroyed’ by overzealous and unauthorized cleanup, neighbors claim. They say people are entering Loughborough Cemetery, a conservation area, without permission and ripping up plants, hedges and undergrowth that provide refuge for foxes, badgers, mice, bats and birds.
Activists fighting to protect the cemetery’s flora and fauna first raised the issue after about two years ago a group of people began removing ivy and plants and severely pruning bushes. And it appeared the issue was resolved in May last year when Charnwood Borough Council issued a statement saying only authorized volunteers from Friends of Loughborough Cemetery could maintain the site.
However, Sarah Rate, who has lived next to the cemetery for nearly 50 years, told LeicestershireLive the “destruction” started again after Christmas. She said: ‘It stopped for a while but it started up again just after Christmas and people were going there and making a real mess.
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“The damage they cause is simply unbelievable. And what they do to the graves… If those were my family’s graves, I’d go crazy. Let people rest in peace.
“They were just tearing up all the greenery and then they knock down all the headstones. There are beautiful animals in there, creatures, birds, butterflies, insects. It’s a bit of a wildlife sanctuary.
“There aren’t so many owls anymore. Since they uprooted the bushes, I think a lot of mammals don’t have a place to live, so there are no owls because there aren’t so many mice.
“It was amazing with all the wildflowers, some nice bushes. And these people just came in and cut down these bushes and killed them. And it was tidy, they have to keep it tidy.
Ms Rate said it was clear the group of around three people who had taken it upon themselves to clean up the site were not part of the group of Friends of Loughborough Cemetery – whom she praised for the excellent work that he accomplishes. She said they worked separately from the group when they were all together at the cemetery and did not wear the protective gear worn by official volunteers.
She added that she raised her concerns with the council in March but, despite email exchanges with officials, the unauthorized cleanup was continuing. She said: “You get an email and think ‘give them a few weeks, they’re busy people’ but you get to a point, they’ve had it since March and I’m sick of waiting.
“We need him to stop properly. We thought last year after a huge battle we finally stopped him and that was awesome. We were hoping the group of friends would come back and everything would be done right without disturbing or killing the wildlife.
“Seeing it start again is not enough, there are generations who need to see what a century-old cemetery looks like with birds and wildlife. We are at a point where this is more important than ever because we let’s lose.
“There are about three people, go tell them to go home and not do what they are doing. It is heartbreaking to see what they do and what they are allowed to do.
A spokesperson for Charnwood Borough Council said: ‘We would like to thank the Friends of Loughborough Cemetery who are doing an amazing job helping to look after the site, alongside our contractor idverde.
“We need to balance using the site as a cemetery and a place for plant and animal life. People visit the cemetery to reflect, so we have to keep it tidy. We are also thinking about how to support biodiversity there.
“A senior environmental officer has visited the cemetery and is pleased with the way the site is being managed in a positive way. We are aware of concerns raised that some people might help maintain the site on their own initiative. With this in mind, we will be hosting a meeting for local residents to understand their concerns and clarify how we can work together to best manage the site. »