A CEMETERY is being closed to future burials and will become a wildlife haven.

Family of loved ones resting in Broadwater Cemetery, South Farm Road, Worthing, say monuments have been damaged by weeds, grass is overgrown and broken paths make it difficult for wheelchair users to access the graves.

Worthing Borough Council said fewer families were visiting their loved ones and there were only a “few burials” each year.

As a result, it said the cemetery would soon become a “closed site” – meaning there would no longer be room for new burials among the 25,000 already buried there.

Instead, the council said it would allow the site to become “more of a haven for wildlife and wild flowers to flourish”.

Linda Thorne, whose sister Hazel is buried in the cemetery, said: “The grass, weeds and brambles are awful. You can’t even see the gravestones as the grass is so high.”

Funeral director Ian Hart, whose business is based nearby, said the cemetery’s current state is “disrespectful”.

The Friends of Broadwater Cemetery group has been helping to look after the site.

Debra Hillman, from the group, said: “For some time the council has been cutting the grass just three or four times a year. We’re trying to work with the council to maximise the resources they can provide and to try to help by our members carrying out clearance work as well.

“It’s an area that contains a lot of local history so we want to do the best we can.”

A spokeswoman for Worthing Borough Council said: “Due to it becoming less visited for memorial purposes and it being nearly full with only a very few burials now per year, the decision was taken with the support of the Friends of Broadwater Cemetery to allow it to become more of a haven for wildlife and wildflowers.

“The cemetery has four cuts a year from spring through to early autumn.”