Playing field won’t become a cemetery

Voted against the plan: Coun Rodney Grocock.
Voted against the plan: Coun Rodney Grocock.

The district council’s bid to use a Spalding playing field as an extension to the town cemetery was killed off by its own planning committee.

Opposition from Sport England, Spalding and District Civic Society and 100 residents, with a last minute petition suggesting an alternative site at Banbury Close, set the scene for a 14-0 vote to refuse last night (Wednesday).

I am for the living, not for the dead. Children take more of my thinking space than dead people.

Coun Rodney Grocock

Only planning committee chairman, Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, declined to vote because the cemetery is part of his portfolio.

The Chiltern Drive field includes a football pitch and Sport England opposed the loss of a sports facility, asking the council to offer up a replacement, while the civic society pointed out Spalding is already “44 per cent under-provided” for green leisure space.

Resident Kim Seston said generations enjoyed playing on the field and told councillors: “This proposal is robbing Peter to pay Paul at the expense of the community.”

Coun Rodney Grocock said: “I am for the living, not for the dead. Children take more of my thinking space than dead people.

“As a councillor, I shall definitely not be voting for this for the simple reason it’s definitely in the wrong place.”

The committee heard that options may include finding land elsewhere for a completely new cemetery.

Coun Gambba-Jones said: “We have tried other locations around the existing cemetery that have access from the cemetery – all of those have been thwarted by the current landowners, one of them at the 11th hour.”