A council has apologised to infuriated locals after a protected beauty spot was dug up by accident.
Beauty spot damaged by trainee gravediggers who accidentally dig in wrong place: Mendip District Council granted access to part of Easthill Cemetery in Frome, Somerset for trainee gravediggers to use. However they mistakenly dug up part of an ajoining field which, it had been agreed, would not be built on. A local group said the field was treasured in the town for its “irreplaceable ecological value”. A member of the Friends of Easthill Facebook group, Mark Player, told the BBC the incident occurred on 28th January.
He said the field was “protected and enhanced for its irreplaceable ecological value” to Frome and the group had been left “very upset” by the damage. He went on to say “We feel passionately about this field because it’s not just a bit of agricultural land that has been intensively farmed – it hasn’t been touched by human development at all. When we asked, we were told that they couldn’t dig on plots.” Nicola Player, another member of the Friends of Easthill Field, posted images of the damage caused to the site on the group’s official Facebook page on Thursday.
She said “Today, we have evidence of the ignorance and lack of respect that exists in Mendip District Council for wildlife habitats in general and Easthill in particular. Someone in the Council said that a bit of Easthill field could be used for a training course for grave diggers.
Why couldn’t they use land within the existing cemetery boundaries?” Founder of the group, Bharati Pardhy, said “It has a blanket tree preservation order on all the trees and copses over the site, it’s five and a half acres. It’s never been dug, or fertilised, it’s pristine land, it’s as precious and rare as rain forest and full of wildlife, all kinds of birds and reptiles and creatures, it is stunning.”
A Mendip District Council spokesperson said the contractors had been asked to dig within the boundaries of Easthill Cemetery due to burial services taking part at other sites. They said the instruction was “misunderstood” but that the council was “satisfied this was simply a communication error with no mal-intent, albeit with significant consequences”. A council spokesman said “As soon as we were made aware of the miscommunication, we worked quickly to make safe the space, remove the team, and ensured the second days training was completed at a different location within the cemetery boundary.
The space has since been secured and communications have been issued to those who contacted us about the matter.” The area has since been made safe with training continuing for a second day.
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