Dead end for Horncastle cemetery?

Councillors in Horncastle have been warned they could be heading down a '˜dead end' in their search for a new cemetery - because their chosen site is in the path of a potential route for a town bypass.

The existing burial ground off Boston Road and, inset, the proposed new site close to the River Bain
The existing burial ground off Boston Road and, inset, the proposed new site close to the River Bain

The town council is desperate to establish a new cemetery because they are running out of plots at the existing burial ground off Boston Road.

Councillors thought they had found the ideal location a couple of years ago - farmland close to the River Bain - only to discover test graves filled with water.

Now, they have set their sights on land near to community woodland off the B1183 to Boston via Scrivelsby and Revesby.

Talks have taken place with landowners Lincolnshire County Council and a planning application could be submitted within a couple of months.

The location was confirmed at a town council meeting held last Tuesday.

However, local resident Andrew Neale - a leading figure in the campaign for a Horncastle bypass - said he was ‘amazed’ councillors were considering the site, because it could form part of the bypass route.

Mr Neale said: “I understand the County Council is already looking at potential routes and this site (the proposed cemetery) is exactly where a roundabout linking the bypass with Boston Road could be.”

There is no firm commitment about a bypass although several leading figures have backed the long awaited project, including MP Victoria Atkins, the county council and ELDC leader Craig Leyland.

Town council chairman Coun Brian Burbidge suggested the uncertainty meant the bypass might never go ahead.

Fellow councillors agreed to press ahead with the proposed site for the cemetery, despite Mr Neale’s warning.

Coun Burbidge said there was still ‘some way to go’ and a ‘lot of hard work ahead’ before a deal was finalised with the County Council.

He confirmed funding would have to be set aside for upgrading the car park, a new access road and a workshop.

He also said the site would have to be fenced off while some ‘small trees’ would have to be felled.

Coun Matthew Wilkinson acknowledged the need for a new cemetery but said he was worried about the cost.

He said: “We could be talking about £60-£70,000, on top of the actual cost of the land. That is a significant sum for this council.”

He suggested the town council should attempt to negotiate a ‘better deal’ for the land.

In a statement, the town council said: “Town and parish councils do not have a legal obligation to provide burial land for residents, so the town council could simply close the current cemetery when it is full which would mean Horncastle residents would have to be buried outside the parish,”

Chairman of the Council’s Estates Management Committee, Coun David Roark, said: “The town council understands the importance of having a cemetery within the town and has been working hard to ensure that when the current cemetery is full, residents can continue to lay their loved ones to rest within