THE Vicar at St Peter’s Church says they will be joining those lodging their objections to plans to turn open grasslands in Ipsley into a new town cemetery.
Canon Garth Nathaniel spoke out to quell rumours that the church was behind plans to site the cemetery on land directly to its south.
“It has been brought to my notice that there is a rumour circulating that St Peter’s Church in Ipsley has lobbied for and instigated the planned change of use for the field opposite St Peter’s Church to accommodate the new cemetery,” he said.
“I wish to assure the residents that the Church is not and and never has been either involved in the movement or process leading to this point.
“We will be lodging our objections to this proposed change of use and will be standing with and speaking up on behalf of our community in Ipsley and Matchborough and Winyates in preserving this field as a place of vital use by our community for recreation.”
The number of objections to the proposal has swelled to more than 300, with more pouring in.
Local Councillor John Fisher (Lab, Matchborough) said: “I’m really concerned about this proposal.
“It’s in an area that is well used for walking and recreation.
“There is an lot of opposition and I will be liaising with residents to make sure everyone’s views on this proposal are taken into account.”
The land in question, part of Arrow Valley Park, extends to 11.5 acres and, say officers, could have enough capacity if converted to a cemetery to last 60 to 70 years.
However the site has been defined by the borough council as ‘primary open space’ to ‘be protected and, where appropriate, enhanced’.
It further says such land would ‘not normally be granted planning permission unless it can be demonstrated the need for development outweighs the value of the land’.
A council report from 2010, ‘The New Cemetery Report’, lists further issues with drainage and access.
However Councillor Brandon Clayton (Con, Astwood Bank and Feckenham) who was the relevant portfolio holder then and now said: “We have more technology these days and it comes down to the land at the top which is unrestricted and viable in our opinion.
“But it is all subject to the planning committee agreeing to it, then the actual studies can take place, but nothing is off the table and we are continuing to look.”
To see the plans, visit https://tinyurl.com/udm73gj and key in 20/00863/FUL in the search box.