Lodge tenant at Sunderland's Southwick Cemetery says building 'falling apart', with caved-in ceiling and rats coming through rotting skirting boards

The tenant of a house in a Sunderland cemetery says she has ‘never seen the place so run down’, and has spent a year calling on council chiefs to make repairs.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Monday, 25th October 2021, 11:54 am

Linda Cross has lived at East Lodge in Southwick Cemetery for 35 years.

But the 68-year-old says is ‘fed up’ at both the state of the property and the cemetery overall, and has been calling on Sunderland City Council to repair and better-maintain the burial ground.

She says the cemetery and lodge is ‘falling apart’, with damage including a caved-in ceiling in the outhouse, broken floorboards, rotting skirting boards and a demolished boundary wall.

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Linda Cross has been contacting Sunderland City Council for more than 12 months over the upkeep of the cemetery.

She said the delay in repairs has led to her home being open to rats and slugs coming up over through the broken boards.

“I am sick and fed up of waiting any longer – it’s absolutely disgusting that these issues haven’t been resolved earlier," she said.

"The land is overgrown, rats are running around and everything is rotting away, the ceiling has collapsed and in a dangerous state, the two main lights at the cemetery gate have been repaired but it’s been months that it’s been so dark I couldn't see the keyhole in my door to open it.”

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Southwick Cemetery house resident Linda Cross has concerns over the rotting roof in her outhouse.

Linda said she has been struggling to try and maintain the cemetery alone, adding that she has ‘never seen the cemetery so run down’.

She said: “It’s a complete shambles, and I’ve been trying my best but it’s a lot to do at 68 and it makes me upset – what else am I to do?

"At night the driveway is used as a racetrack for off road bikes as gates are not closed and now, cars park on the grass, dogs foul on it, it looks frightful.”

The council has now visited the property to begin repairs.

Linda says damp damaging the skirting boards and broken floorboards means rats and slugs have been heard and found in her home.

A Sunderland City Council spokesperson said: “A programme of repairs and works is underway at the property, this includes pest control measures.”

Linda confirmed the council have started looking into the repairs.

She added: “Suddenly one of the head men has been out to check the ceiling and pest control have been out to make checks, I'm pleased that things are finally moving.”

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