Published on Wednesday, 9th March 2016
In response to recent press coverage regarding burial grounds within the Borough, the Council would like to clarify the position with the following statement.
The cemetery at Marston Lane in Bedworth is deemed to have burial capacity for another 25-30 years. The Council is currently undertaking appraisals of adjacent land with a view to extending the cemetery, increasing the burial capacity to bring it up to 60 years.
In terms of other potential sites across the Borough, the Council has been proactive in identifying land that might be suitable; any available non-Green belt sites in Council ownership have been reviewed and routinely assessed but to date it has not possible to identify a suitable location for a new cemetery.
Various sites have been considered and detailed appraisals undertaken, with issues such as flooding potential, location and previous uses of land being taken into account. Water levels on potential sites have also been investigated to establish whether there is an unsaturated zone that will be suitable for burial purposes. Should any land ultimately be deemed suitable for burial purposes, planning permission would then be required.
"Contrary to recent media speculation, the cemetery at Marston Lane has capacity to meet the whole Borough’s needs once extended but we will still be actively seeking other sites across the Borough and in particular in Nuneaton.
In considering future burial sites, we need to take account of both the suitability of the land and the broader needs of local residents. Whilst we have considered making use of land at some of our existing recreation grounds, such a change in use has implications for local residents; for instance in Attleborough, the changes would mean the loss of the only recreation ground in the area.
The Council has no commercial interests in this issue at all; we have only the interests of the people of the Borough at heart and obviously have to balance the broad needs of our residents with the location of any future cemetery land. Following the public outcry from residents over the potential loss of Attleborough Recreation Ground, a decision was taken that we would not use any recreation grounds but would continue looking for other land opportunities
It’s not clear to us whether the funeral directors are concerned about their commercial interests or the public interests; either way, the action they have taken can only divide the community. It’s disappointing that so far they have not taken the opportunity to work with us in a positive way, for instance in assisting us in the search for suitable land. We hope they will change their position soon and work with us in the best interests of the Borough.
In the meantime, we’ll continue to extend and develop Marston Lane Cemetery to make sure we do not run out of burial land but will continue to be proactive in seeking new ground for burial purposes and will do so with the interests of local residents fully at heart."
Cllr Ian Lloyd, portfolio holder for Arts and Leisure
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