Consultation on Billinghay church burial land
Church commissioners are consulting on a proposal by the Diocese of Lincoln to allow a piece of unused burial land in Billinghay to become a garden.
According to the Diocesan office, the piece of land is opposite St Michael and All Angels Church and runs from the junction of Church Street and Church Lane, stretching back alongside Old School Lane.
They state in their documents: “The burial ground in question is detached from the churchyard around the church itself. It is unkempt and has become something of an area where acts of antisocial behaviour take place.
“The neighbour has indicated his willingness to take over the property as added amenity space for his property and to assume management and care responsibility.”
Steven Sleight, the Pastoral and Closed Churches Secretary at Lincoln Diocese explained: “There are a half dozen or so grave stones remaining although I understand these are quite well hidden by bushes. A number of other grave stones which used to be there were in fact moved to the churchyard around St Michael’s Church back in the 1970s.
"The proposal as explained in the draft scheme is for the neighbour to acquire the land to add to his existing garden. The current draft scheme does not provide for the moving of any of the remaining headstones or the disturbance of any burials and any such work is closely governed by both ecclesiastical and secular law. The intending purchaser has indicated that anyone with a legitimate interest in visiting a grave will be happy to allow that to be done.”
If they receive representations against the draft scheme, the Church Commissioners will send all representations, both for and against, to the Bishop of Ely whose views will be sought.
If there is no opposition, the commissioners will arrange for it to be brought into effect and the land would be deconsecrated to become a garden. The land would not be permitted for any other use without consent.
The consultation expires on Monday, October 3.
Anyone wishing to comment on the scheme should send it in writing by post to: Matthew Crowe, Pastoral Division, Church Commissioners, Great Smith St, London, SW1P 3AZ or by email to: [email protected]