Boost for villagers in fight to protect land

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PLANS for a controversial village crematorium have faced a setback after English Heritage imposed a stop notice to halt development.

Land in Moor Lane in Willoughby has officially been recognised as ‘of importance’ despite being earmarked for a 22,000-plot cemetery and crematorium.

The national body stopped short of officially listing Moor Lane, in Willoughby.

But it did say the historic importance of the ridge and furrow at the site has been acknowledged. And the stop notice has now been put in place after villagers last month rushed to stop a farmer ploughing up the land.

Land owner Aamer Waheed’s plans have sparked outrage in the village and the Villages Against Cemetery and Crematorium group (VACC) was set up in October 2010 to fight the plans.

The group believe this latest move by English Heritage will help them in their battle.

English Heritage has also confirmed that the moated site south of Manor Farm House (across the road from Moor Lane) has been listed and added to the national schedule of monuments.

VACC campaigner Kathy Hater said: “Even though the ridge and furrow hasn’t been listed we are pleased that it’s been recognised.

“If it had been listed we would have been delighted as that would have brought an end to any potential development.

“But we are now in the process of exploring the possibility of getting extra planning restrictions in place.

“The moated area is on the other side of the road and not owned by the applicant, but it has been linked to the ridge and furrow historically. It’s not clear what is underneath the land because it’s never been dug, but who knows what could be found.

“We believe we have good planning and highway grounds to fight this application.”

Landowner Mr Waheed was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.