Grass and wildflowers to grow again for council scheme in 100 wild spaces

Councillor James Mallinder, cabinet member for the environment.

Councillor James Mallinder, cabinet member for the environment. - Credit: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

Cemeteries and open spaces around Waveney will once again become havens for wildlife this spring with the return of a controversial scheme.

East Suffolk Council's 'Pardon the weeds, we're feeding the bees' campaign will return for a third year, with grass and wildflowers left to grow in more than 100 spots around the district.

These include churchyards and cemeteries in Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth, Kirkley, Lowestoft and Southwold, as well as a number of open spaces.

The scheme has, however, been criticised in previous years with some believing it has left local cemeteries in an "appalling" state.

Lowestoft Cemetery.

Lowestoft Cemetery. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The areas chosen are large enough to provide an environmental benefit without presenting any safety issues for local communities, a council spokesperson said.

Yellow signs will be installed in the participating spaces to make residents and visitors aware of the scheme, while town and parish councils, supported by East Suffolk Norse, will monitor the conservation areas to remove litter and control any invasive plant species.

James Mallinder, cabinet member for the environment, said: "We are committed to promoting environmental sustainability and ensuring responsible stewardship of our open spaces.

"The wild spaces are well received by local communities, and we are delighted to be bringing them back for another year to help wildlife to thrive and to benefit those living nearby.

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“We are keen to encourage others to create wildlife spaces of their own and so this year, we are supporting town and parish councils to identify areas of their own land which could be used for conservation too.

"Participating town and parish councils will be able to order special signage for their wild spaces.”

East Suffolk Council has stood by the scheme, saying it offers a balanced environment for visitors and wildlife, adding grass in cemeteries is cut near main paths to allow access to regularly attended graves.

After launching in 2020, the scheme has allowed a conservation-based approach to cutting which promotes biodiversity.

Town and parish councils are encouraged to contact East Suffolk Council to highlight any additional areas which could benefit from a possible change in how they are managed, with residents able to pass suggestions onto their town or parish councils.

The council are also encouraging people to share photos of their local wildlife spaces on social media with the #PardonTheWeeds hashtag.

St Michael's Church, Beccles.

St Michael's Church, Beccles. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Where are the wild spaces?

Four open spaces in Beccles will be dedicated as wild spaces, including at Highleas Close, Puddingmoor Slopes, St Mary Paddock, and The Dell, as well as at St Michael's Churchyard.

Land at Annis Hill, Beccles Road, and Elizabeth Bonholte Close are included in Bungay, as well as the town's cemetery and churchyards at Trinity and St Marys.  

Four sections of highway feature in Lowestoft, including Bloodmoor Road, Millennium Way, Peto Way Banks, and the roundabout connecting Normanston Drive and Peto Way.

Churchyards in Lowestoft include St Margarets and St Peter and St John, as well as Lowestoft and Kirkley cemeteries, and the seafront slopes are also included.

In Halesworth, St Mary's Churchyard and Halesworth Cemetery also feature, as well as Carlton Park, in Carlton Colville, and the church green and St Edmunds churchyard in Southwold.

Pepys Avenue and Werels Loke in Worlingham and Wrentham old and new cemeteries and St Nicholas churchyard are also dedicated wild spaces.