Future of almost full cemetery could form part of neighbourhood plan, council says

Gravestones inside Watton Cemetery. Picture: Ian Burt

Gravestones inside Watton Cemetery. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

The future of burials in Watton - which will run out of grave space within 10 years - could form part of the town's neighbourhood plan.

St Mary's Church at Watton. Picture: Ian Burt

St Mary's Church at Watton. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Watton Town Council revealed earlier this year the cemetery, off Church Road, will be full within 10 years.

Plans to develop land in the parish for a new cemetery is unlikely, according to the council, due to a lack of suitable open space.

However, the council has said it is looking into the possibility of including future burial provision outside the parish as part of the process of their neighbourhood plan.

It also said the issue of diminishing grave space could affect other parishes across the region.

Town clerk Jane Scarrot said: 'At the moment it is very much open ended. If we are going to provide a new cemetery, where are we going to find the land?

'I think this is something that is going to be an issue for a lot of parishes soon.'

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She added: 'We did have an initial survey about where in the town we might be able to locate a cemetery and they were saying south of the town would be best but because of the lack of any land anywhere within the parish boundaries we haven't been able to identify anything at all.

'Whether people would be happy with a cemetery further afield could be something we ask as part of our neighbourhood plan survey.'

The neighbourhood plan for the town is still in its early stages, with a survey of residents to be sent out in the next few months.

Neighbourhood plans are powerful tools for parish and town councils, and can be used to force developers to include desirable items in plans such as bicycle storage, open space, and leisure space.

Surveys sent out by councils help inform those neighbourhood plans, and are often used by councils to identify common issues or problems.

Mrs Scarrot said: 'The steering group which is running the neighbourhood plan is trying very hard to engage and they are trying to find out what the major issues are in the town which is what will be included in the surveys.'

Do you have a story in Watton, Brandon or Thetford? Send the details to conor.matchett@archant.co.uk