Whaplode Cemetery Chapel set to make way for memorial garden

Whaplode Cemetery Chapel is set to be demolished and replaced by a memorial garden after a public consultation by parish councillors.  Photo supplied.
Whaplode Cemetery Chapel is set to be demolished and replaced by a memorial garden after a public consultation by parish councillors. Photo supplied.
  • Villagers back parish council plans for development of burial site
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Plans to replace a 19th century chapel at Whaplode Cemetery with a memorial garden look set to go ahead after public support.

Whaplode Parish Council is to hold talks with leaders of St Mary’s Church in the village to go forward with scheme later this year.

The idea of creating a memorial garden at the cemetery in Wesley Road, Whaplode, first emerged last August when it was revealed that the cost of renovating the chapel, built in 1893, would be an estimated £20,000.

A statement from Whaplode Parish Council at the time said: “Plans have been confirmed to extend the cemetery on land next to the current site as there are now only a few unreserved plots left in the existing cemetery.

“Whilst this work is carried out, it is also planned to demolish the unused chapel which is in a poor state due to its age and some vandalism.

“Councillors have considered renovating the building but, with an estimated £20,000 needed just to make the building secure, they do not think it is a prudent use of council tax monies.

Coun Graham Barlow, Whaplode Parish Council.

Coun Graham Barlow, Whaplode Parish Council.

“Our current plans are to turn the chapel’s site into a garden of remembrance where visitors can sit and reflect, with the current drive and turning circle to be renewed at the same time.

“After these works have been carried out, the cemetery should serve the needs of the community for the next 25 years.”

However, plans to demolish the chapel saddened John Welch, whose late brother Alec was a parish councillor for 25 years.

John said: “Myself and others in the village would like to see the chapel saved like the one in Holbeach Cemetery.

The parish council intends for Whaplode Cemetery Chapel to be demolished, then the site will be landscaped to create a memorial garden which will tie in with the extensions to the cememtery itself

Coun Graham Barlow, Whaplode Parish Council

“It could be used for services where people don’t want to have a church service or cremation ceremony as there are a lot of people who want this kind of burial.

“Also, I don’t want to see it demolished for sentimental reasons as my family and other people think it is a nice, old chapel and it would be a shame to just knock it down.”

Whaplode parish councillor Graham Barlow said: “We’ve had very little objection to the plans and although no decision has been finalised yet, the parish council intends for the chapel to be demolished.

“Then the site will be landscaped to create a memorial garden which will tie in with the extensions to the cememtery itself.

“There’s no definite timetable as yet but I’d imagine that work will start within the next 12 months, with the long-term plan to do some maintenance work on the cemetery site.

“Once the memorial garden is finished, the whole site will be fit for purpose for the next 30 to 40 years.

“It our duty to provide a cemetery for Whaplode and that’s what we’re doing.”

Villager ready to fight for future of Whaplode Cemetery Chapel

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