Norwich has burial space for 26 years council insists, after plans for new �3.5m cemetery are dismissed
It has emerged that previous estimates predicting Norwich would run out of burial space in 2013 will not turn out to be true because the figures were based on historical records dating back to the 1860s.
Norwich City Council is now confident it has enough burial space for the next 26 years at Earlham Crematorium.
The news follows a decision to dismiss an appeal against a failed planning application for a new �3.5m cemetery in Drayton.
Plans for the Canham's Hill site, off Reepham Road, were turned down in June last year by Broadland District Council.
Canham Hill Cemetery Ltd appealed the decision, which claimed it would provide burial space for the Greater Norwich area for the next 100 years, but this was upheld last week.
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Simon Woodbridge, owner of Canham Hill Cemetery Ltd and former leader of Broadland District Council, questioned what the plans were for future burial space in the Norwich area.
He said: 'On a personal level, this is a huge and bitter disappointment for me because three years of hard work has gone into the project.
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'It is �3.5m of investment into the local economy that has been pretty much thrown away. The scheme has suffered a tremendous set back and I will have to take time to consider my options.'
But a spokesman for the city council insisted there will not be an urgent need for more burial space in the city for around 26 years, referring to increasing cremation rates and saying: 'Following a thorough review of burial space in Norwich, officers identified that much of the data used to calculate grave space was based on historical records dating back to the 1860s.
'This meant that the figures originally arrived at were the result of an under-reporting of the true position as they were based on worst-case scenarios.
'This relied on assuming that every burial would require digging a new plot.
'In practice, existing plots can and do accommodate more than one burial. Combined with other approaches to find suitable and dignified areas to maximise burial space at Earlham – such as using a section previously set aside for pandemics as well as using boundaries of some areas which are more than 3m wide – the council has identified hundreds of extra spaces for graves.'
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