Two-stage plan to expand Whaplode Cemetery

CEMETERY EXPANSION: Whaplode Parish Council wants the public's views on plans to create more land for burial plots and demolish the unused chapel to make way for a garden of remembrance at the site.
CEMETERY EXPANSION: Whaplode Parish Council wants the public's views on plans to create more land for burial plots and demolish the unused chapel to make way for a garden of remembrance at the site.
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People in Whaplode are being asked for their views on plans to create more space for graves at the village cemetery.

An estimated £20,000 repair bill for a chapel at the cemetery in Wesley Road, Whaplode, after deterioration and repeated vandalism has led Whaplode Parish Council to an idea of demolishing it to make way for a new garden of remembrance.

There’s a strip of land that we’ve had planning permission on for years just sitting there, waiting to be used, while the existing cemetery is getting full

Coun Paul Stafford, Whaplode Parish Council

Parish councillors are also keen to expand the cemetery itself by using nearby farmland which it had bought previously to create extra burial plots.

Coun Paul Stafford said: “There’s a strip of land that we’ve had planning permission on for years just sitting there, waiting to be used, while the existing cemetery is getting full.

“So we have to look at an extension to the cemetery itself by moving onto the land next door to it, but we want feedback from the people of Whaplode as to what we should do.

“We also have an idea to take down the old chapel and clear it away so as to make it a nice place where people can sit and reflect.

“But it’s for the people of Whaplode to decide if they want us to do that and we’re having a meeting soon where we hope to get some feedback from the village as to what it wants us to do.”

A parish council spokesman said: “There are now only a few unreserved plots left in the existing cemetery and the agricultural land, purchased by the council and granted planning permission a number of years ago, is to be suitably landscaped.”

The Rev Rosamund Seal, Rural Dean of Elloe East which includes Whaplode, said: “Parish councils have a very important role to play in ensuring the continued existence of suitable provision for burials and interments of ashes in local communities.

“It is very important for local people to feel that they can be buried alongside past family members in their local communities.

“I therefore commend Whaplode Parish Council’s foresight in purchasing this land some time ago and I am sure they will ensure that it is sympathetically blended in with the existing provision.

“As for the demolition of the chapel. such buildings are no longer used for funeral services as people prefer to have either a full church service or a cremation and unless such buildings have an outstanding heritage value, they are usually not worth the expense of maintaining.

“The provision of a further area for cremated remains with suitable seating would be a beneficial addition to what is already provided.”

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