Daventry District Council is moving forward with plans to build a new cemetery in the town as the number of burial spaces runs critically low.
A report had identified that there are only 200 burial spaces left at the Welton Road cemetery, and with an average of 60-70 burials per year, this would see it run out of space within the next three years.
Now the council is exploring building a new five or six-acre site, which should provide capacity for the next 50 years. Ten possible sites have been identified for the cemetery, which could cost up to £1.5million to complete.
Speaking at the latest strategy group meeting (on May 23), council leader Chris Millar said: “Based on the current numbers, it’s anticipated that Welton Road cemetery will have no space left after the next three years, so that’s the kind of timescale we’re looking at.
“Work has been undertaken identifying potential sites for a new cemetery to be located. In my opinion, it’s better to do something now than wait a couple of years [for the unitary authorities] when we’ll only have a year left.”
The sites identified are two parcels of farmland just off the A361 north of Daventry; three possible sites on a strip of farmland just north of Middlemore; two sites in the proposed Daventry North East urban extension; some private farmland just southeast of the town in the Newnham parish; and sites on public open space at Daneholme Park, and Western Meadows at Daventry Country Park.
Although the district council does not have a statutory duty to provide a new cemetery for the town, the council conceded it would ‘probably be liable for criticism for failing to make provision’.
It had been suggested that Daventry Town Council could take on any obligation to provide a new facility. But a report to district councillors states: “Clearly, if DTC had agreed it would take work on a new cemetery forward, that would change the position, but whilst that may occur that is not currently the position. It is therefore considered that pragmatically this council will need to take forward provision of a new cemetery for Daventry town, at least for the present.”
The district council has approved for a budget of £100,000 to allow technical work to proceed. Cost for the whole project could reach as high as £1.5million, and the council is exploring the possibility of funding this in whole or part from the Community Infrastructure Levy.
Residents are now being invited to have their say on the proposals, with a consultation that runs until July 12. The online consultation can be found here.