AN old cemetery in Blackburn has turned into a wildlife oasis after the grass was allowed to grow long.

Opinion is divided among local residents about the wild grassland. Some say they enjoy getting back to nature, but others are urging the council to cut the grass and maintain the area around their family plots.

Anne Edwards, 58, who lives in Whalley New Road, walks her dogs in the cemetery three times a day, and wants the grass to be allowed to grow free.

She said: “I just like it the way it is. A lot of these graves are not visited anymore and people can trim round their own graves “I love it. It’s nice for birds nesting, and bees and butterflies come here, and hedgehogs, and foxes, and there were deer here too.

“It’s like a walk in the countryside. The dogs love it too. It’s like having the country on your doorstep. There are more people coming here for walks than there are tending graves.”

But Gerard Rogan, 61, from Knuzden, said he and his wife were upset by the state of the cemetery.

He said: “My mother-in-law was only buried there last year, in a family grave, and we tend the grave every week. It’s heartbreaking, my wife’s really upset by it. It’s unbelievable. We had a new headstone put on and the actual plot looks nice, but it’s spoilt by that grass.

“The council say they cut the grass three times a year, but it’s not been cut at all so far this year.”

The cemetery is maintained by Blackburn Council together with a Friends group, and there are plans to cut the grass in the next few weeks.

Coun Shaukat Hussain lead member for environment said: “As a council we understand that grass cutting and other environmental work remains a priority for residents. Over the past few weeks we have been tending and tiding many of the borough’s open spaces and cemeteries as we have seen an unprecedented rate of grass growing. I can now however assure residents that contractors will clear the area as soon as possible.”