RESIDENTS have expressed their delight after forcing a council U-turn over an ‘overgrown’ cemetery containing war graves.

Last month residents spoke of their ‘disgust’ and ‘shame’ after discovering that more than 30 war graves were overgrown.

Pictures of the graves at Clitheroe’s Waddington Road Cemetery of soldiers from both world wars were posted on Facebook, attracting a number of comments calling for action.

Whalley resident Mel Diack, 61, wrote to the borough council asking for something to be done. He was backed by Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans.

At the site, 13 men who died during the First World War are buried alongside 17 from the Second World War. Now the the council has had the plot mown and intends to maintain it until the matter can be discussed by the council in the coming months.

The council had recently said that the practice of turning older cemeteries into wildflower areas is ‘common and certainly not a sign of neglect’. It said that the council would cut a path to the graves but would leave the majority of the grass.

Clitheroe resident Simon Entwistle, 58, from Little Moor Road, said that he was ‘delighted’ to hear the news.

Simon, who originally flagged up the issue on Facebook, said: “It’s a beautiful cemetery and the war graves there should be respected. I’ve met some people who like the way it is and they are, of course, entitled to their opinion but I think that it should be neat. War graves are there to be viewed and should not be lost amongst the grass.

“I’m absolutely delighted that the grass is going to be cut.”

Coun Kevin Horkin, who represents the area, said: “I have spoken with the leader who has promised to have the grass cut in the cemetery. I have had a large number of concerned residents contact me about this and I’m delighted that something is to be done.”

The council has said that in the four years since the introduction of the natural maintenance regime, no-one has approached them with any concerns or negative comments.