Campaign group wins improvements to Hawkhead Cemetery

22nd Jun 2022

By Norman Macdonald

IMPROVEMENTS are now starting to be made to Hawkhead Cemetery in Paisley, only weeks after a pressure group began campaigning for Renfrewshire Council to carry out the work.

The Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery group was set up by Paisley newsagent, Desmond Barr (pictured) after complaints about the “disgraceful state” of the Council-owned graveyard.

Shortly after the group was launched, they carried out a public survey to find out what issues people most wanted Renfrewshire Council to take action on at Hawkhead Cemetery. These included better maintenance and weeding of pathways, more regular grass cutting, repairing the many potholes on the roads throughout the cemetery and new signage.

Led by Desmond Barr, the Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery passed on the results of their survey to the local authority and began lobbying council officials and councillors to carry out repairs and better maintain the cemetery. Now the group report that the council has –

  • begun a programme of regular and improved grass cutting;
  • is investigating and has experimented with the best type of machinery to clear weeds and moss that covers pathways;
  • started repairing potholes in the part of the cemetery that is currently most in use for new graves.
  • new Hawkhead Cemetery signage will soon be erected.

Desmond said: “We have won some initial and important victories in the short time the Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery group has been campaigning for improvements.

“We’ve made a strong start to our campaign and have gained support from many members of the public and councillors from all political parties. These latest developments from the council to begin improvements to the cemetery are very welcome, although there is still a long way to go.

“I’ve spoken to several councillors and as recently as Sunday evening, organised a visit to Hawkhead Cemetery for Councillor Stephen Burns, who is the depute convener of the council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board.

“I got the impression from him that he thought the necessary improvements had already been made to the cemetery, but was shocked when he saw the disgraceful state the cemetery was still in.  And within a couple of days workmen were out repairing potholes.”

The Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery survey – which more than 550 people completed – revealed that 95.3 per cent of those who took part either strongly agreed, or agreed that the council should give more attention to general maintenance including clearing fallen leaves and debris and weeding pathways.

The survey showed that 94.94 per cent strongly agreed or agreed that roads within the cemetery should be repaired and 89.69 per cent strongly agreed or agreed that grass cutting should be improved.

The questionnaire also saw 87.16 per cent of people strongly agreed or agreed that the council should increase community warden patrols in the cemetery grounds to counter issues such as anti-social behaviour and dog fouling.

Desmond added: “We appreciate the actions being taken by Renfrewshire Council but, as a group, we will remain vigilant to make sure the improvements remain in place long term and that other important issues the public have raised are also dealt with.”

To find out more about Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery, visit their website at www.friendsofhawkheadcemetery.org or to join the group go to the Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery Facebook Page.

Listen live