At a cabinet meeting of the council on 19 October councillors were asked to agree a recommendation made to the meeting to agree a proposal on “Future Cemetery Provision for Loughborough”, in which it recommended that site 5 – Allendale Road- was taken forward as its preferred option. This recommendation was questioned by Councillors Parton, Cooper, Hachem, Hayes and Smidowicz and called back into the council for additional scrutiny at a “call-in” on 14 November. At the meeting on 14 November the councillors decided that the proposal should go back to cabinet with ALL the options to be considered. At Cabinet meeting 2 days later on 16 November Council decided that further work should be completed to find a site, with consultation on the viable options before they decide on a preferred location.
Following the referred cabinet meeting on 16 November 2017 the council have produced the following webpage for further information: https://www.charnwood.gov.uk/pages/loughborough_cemetery_expansion
Following residents concerns HWRA put the following questions to Matthew Bradford, Head of Cleansing and Open Spaces:
1. Why the council has waited 10 years to perform a feasibility study for cemeteries when the need was first recognised in 2007?
We were told in 2007 that there would be a need for more burial space. However, at the time the Burial Audit stated that based on current and future trends of burials, there was sufficient space for 25 years and the current site would not be full until 2032. Since then, burial rates have increased faster than expected and the information about the landscape, including the flood plain, has become clearer. We accept we could have acted earlier, but balancing priorities is always a difficult task for a council. We have five years to implement a solution.
2. Have you applied to the Capital Program Proposal for 2018/2019 – 2020/21? As the report states that you were to submit the Capital Appraisal Form by the 13 October 2017 (which was 6 days before the paper was presented at the cabinet meeting)
The capital appraisal forms were submitted as part of the Council’s internal budget setting process. The final budget will be decided at the meeting of Council on 26th February 2018.
3. In appendix 1: The Analysis of Sites for Suitability as a Potential New Cemetery, by Cemetery Development Services, (The Feasibility Study) gives a weighting of 5 to ponds and water courses, for site 5 Allendale Road, yet just the other side of Allendale Road (and the lozenge in to the Grange Park estate) is the Grange Park Linear Park, which has a stream running alongside it (as shown by the blue line on the OS map, p.36 of the report) which we suspect is within 30m of the boundary of the site. This stream leads to a wild life pond which is possibly about 200m from the site boundary. Grange park also has a surface drainage run off area for the estate, which is situated just to the left of the lozenge. We wonder what constitutes a “water course” for the purpose of this study and wonder if this could be clarified for us.
A watercourse is defined as any channel through which water flows. Watercourses can be natural or man-made, open on the surface or enclosed underground (such as in a culvert). The Council is aware of the stream running alongside the linear park.
A burial site must be:
• outside a source protection zone 1 (SPZ1)
• at least 250 metres from any well, borehole or spring supplying water for human consumption or used in food production – for example at farm dairies
• at least 30 metres from any spring or watercourse not used for human consumption or not used in food production
• at least 10 metres from any field drain, including dry ditches
• all cemetery developments and burials must maintain an unsaturated zone below the level of the base of the graves.
The Council has commissioned a high level Feasibility Study to assesses its burial options going forward. The study considered a number of high level factors in order to explore the suitability of each site. The study does not provide the detailed environmental assessment of the suitability of each site which is required to obtain the necessary permissions from the Environment Agency, who are required to license all new burial grounds. When the Environment Agency consider applications to register new burials grounds they undertake a detailed analysis of the proposed site in order to prevent the pollution of watercourses. More information on this issue can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cemeteries-and-burials-prevent-groundwater-pollution