A TOTAL of £1million is to be spent on works to improve cemeteries in Renfrewshire.

The cash will go towards enhancing walls, roads and paths, as well as fixing drainage, in the area’s nine cemeteries.

Hawkhead Cemetery, Paisley, which has had major problems with flooding, is to receive a £500,000 boost as part of the investment.

It is the largest and most visited cemetery in the area and supports almost half of Renfrewshire’s burials each year.

Bishopton and Inchinnan will also benefit significantly from the planned works, with each cemetery being allocated £75,000 for improvements.

A further £350,000 will be invested at Arkleston Cemetery, Renfrew; Abbey Cemetery, Johnstone; Broomward Cemetery,  Elderslie; and cemeteries in Houston, Kilbarchan and Lochwinnoch.

Councillor Will Mylet, who represents Paisley East and Central on Renfrewshire Council, said he had been inundated with complaints about Hawkhead Cemetery.

“In my six years as a councillor covering Hawkhead Cemetery, I have had many complaints about the state of repair,” he added. “This investment will help to improve the environment where many people go to remember their loved ones.”

People have complained about huge potholes in the roads at some cemeteries, while a lack of drainage at Hawkhead has led to flowers being washed away from gravesides due to flooding.

Councillor John McNaughtan, who also represents the Hawkhead area and has many ancestors buried at the cemetery, said: “It’s great to see some investment in our cemeteries after years of neglect.

“We should remember the dead and fight for the living.”

Plans are already in place for improvements to the Bishopton and Inchinnan sites, with council chiefs pledging remaining funds will be allocated in due course.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Renfrewshire’s land and environment convener, said: “We recognise the need to provide an appropriate setting for those who have lost a loved one.

“This investment will ensure our cemeteries will see a significant improvement which will benefit our communities and provide a space befitting of the circumstance.”

The programme of improvements is set to start in the autumn.