Woodland site planning to expand for traditional multi-faith burials

PUBLISHED: 11:51 13 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:56 13 August 2020

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

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


A woodland burial site which could run out of space in 18 months wants to expand to cater for more multi-faith burials.

The change of use application has been put forward to South Norfolk Council by Greenacres Portfolio Management to extend Colney Woodland Burial Park on the edge of Norwich for 3,600 extra burial and ash internment plots on 4.3 hectares of land.

If approved the access road on the burial park, which is limited to hearses, maintenance vehicles and by electric buggies, would be extended through the wooded area and a small building including visitor toilets would be built.

The burial park, which sits on the edge of the A47 and Watton Road, opened around 20 years ago and currently has around 500 plots remaining out of the available 2,700 burial plots.

The planning statement said: “Increasing capacity is critical to meeting future demand for burial and ash internment. For some faith groups, including Muslims, Catholics and Jews, burial, rather than cremation, is a religious requirement.

“Sites like the proposal site offer the opportunity to meet demand from a range of faith groups, with different burial and internment needs. In this context there is a widely recognised increasing demand for burial grounds in the UK.

“The number of deaths has increased year on year since 2011. This trend is forecast to continue, with a 9pc increase between 2017-2030 predicted. Planning early for the future is therefore essential.

“Recent pandemic demand could mean that there is only 18 months of supply left at the site and this has made the need for the extension proposals more pressing and critical. This proposal seeks to extend the existing burial site to deliver additional capacity and alternative memorial options.”

MORE: Cemetery could double in size under new plans

It added that the trees on the land, belonging to Colney Hall, would remain unaltered if the plans go ahead.

The planning document said: “The scheme therefore seeks to enhance the character of the existing woodland so as to provide greater structural diversity which will, in turn, provide greater opportunities for wildlife.”

It added that the traditional burial plots would be in woodland glades and headstones would be limited in size and material after South Norfolk Council officers raised concerns that traditional burial could “harm the distinctive landscape character of the site”.

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