REDDITCH Borough Council has confirmed outline plans to site a new town cemetery on land off Ipsley Church Lane.
More than 100 letters of objection to the proposal have already been received by the authority.
The site in question is part of Arrow Valley Park and in the authority’s own local plan is an area designated as ‘primarily open space’ which ‘will be protected and, where appropriate, enhanced to improve quality, value, multi-functionality and accessibility’.
It further says that such land would ‘not normally be granted planning permission unless it can be demonstrated that the need for development outweighs the value of the land’.
Covering an area of 11.5 acres, council officers estimate that the land, to the west of Icknield Street Drive, could big enough as a cemetery to last 60 to 70 years.
The authority has been searching for a new cemetery site for a number of years as the one by the Abbey gradually fills up.
A report to the planning committee estimates it may only have enough land for two more years of full burials there, although it may be possible to extend it.
Redditch also has another cemetery off Edgioake Lane in Astwood Bank, which, officers believe, could have ten years left should the go ahead be given for the Ipsley site.
An alternative would be to use the Bromsgrove North Cemetery at Catshill, but officers say there are doubt over that due to poor public transport links.
An additional consideration is cost. Developing the land would be cheaper than buying a new site from an existing landowner.
Councillor Brandon Clayton (Con, Astwood Bank and Feckenham) who’s environment portfolio covers cemetery services, said the problem in the town was the high water table and clay soil.
“The officers have carried out tests all over the town but these have all been turned down for various reasons,” he said.
“Now we have come up with a site in Ipsley that fits all the criteria.”
Local Councillor John Fisher (Lab, Matchborough) said: “I’m really concerned about this proposal.
“It’s in an area that is well used by local people for walking and recreation and I don’t mean once in a while but every day.
“There is an lot of opposition which is entirely understandable and I will be liaising with residents to make sure that everyone’s views on this proposal are taken into account.”
A spokesperson for the borough council said: “The above planning application is currently under consideration and will be determined by Redditch Planning Committee in due course.
“Any views submitted during the consultation process will be reported to the Members of Planning Committee and will form part of the decision-making process.”
To look at the plans, visit https://tinyurl.com/udm73gj and key in 20/00863/FUL in the search box.