'The hearses will have to go on boats' - cemetery extension approved

A building on the Colney Woodland Burial Park. Pictures: SONYA BROWN

A building on the Colney Woodland Burial Park. Pictures: SONYA BROWN - Credit: Archant

Plans to extend a cemetery have been approved despite concerns from the local community over flooding and pollution.  

The approval will see Colney Woodland Burial Park on Watton Road, Colney, extend its existing burial ground and provide space for an extra 3,600 plots.  

The site extends from the northeast corner of the existing burial park, with the River Yare to the north.  

Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Elle Cass told the South Norfolk Council development committee that they expected around 100 burials a year. 

John Elboro, representing the Yare Valley Society, objected to the plans. 

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South Norfolk Council approved the plan at a meeting on Thursday - Credit: Archant


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He said the group was against the project on two grounds – landscape and ecology, and possible pollution from the site. 

Mr Elboro said the applicants must be mindful of the woodland area surrounding the site, to safeguard local wildlife, such as the heronry next to the new burial site. 

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Norfolk County Council Ecology advised that no burials are undertaken in the area beneath the heronry during the breeding season to minimise impact. 

Councillor Graham Minshull queried what pollutants could enter the river from the development.  

Mr Elboro said the question was better addressed to experts but added that chemicals from decomposition, such as nitrates, ammonia and viruses can get into the water supply – pointing to Cholera in the past.  

Bee Corn of the Colney Parish Council raised concerns about flooding on the site. She said: “We object to this application site which seeks to allow burials in the flood plain of the Yare. 

“Large areas of which were underwater a few days ago and will be in a few days if this rain continues.” 

She added: “Hearses are going to have to go along here – they will have to go on boats.” 

An officer said the site was five meters above the water level and the area was in a low flood risk category. 

The Environment Agency initially identified the site as a medium to high risk but following work by the applicant they lifted their objections. 

Planning was approved with 14 conditions, including a landscape and woodland plan, groundwater monitoring, and an emergency flood and evacuation plan. 

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