Parishes bid to find 'super' cemetery

PUBLISHED: 07:21 18 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:18 24 May 2010

PLANS are being made for a cemetery to serve rural residents across North Somerset. Banwell Parish Council has written to neighbouring village authorities to see if there is a suitable site for a cemetery which could help create extra burial space in the

PLANS are being made for a cemetery to serve rural residents across North Somerset.Banwell Parish Council has written to neighbouring village authorities to see if there is a suitable site for a cemetery which could help create extra burial space in the district.Banwell councillors say their Church Street cemetery only has 120 plots left and will be full in about 10 years. Proposals to extend the cemetery into the adjoining Abbey fields were scuppered after the village's archaeological society revealed evidence of medieval fish ponds and Roman ruins on the site. Even if the site was approved for building, high water levels might make it unsuitable for burials.Councillors are looking for other sites in the village, but fear they might have to move outside the parish.They think asking other parishes to share the cost of buying a site is better than asking North Somerset Council to compulsory purchase a suitable piece of land.Hutton Parish Council is also running out of burial plots and says it is interested in a joint venture.Churchill, Locking and Winscombe parish councils have also been contacted and are discussing the proposals.Banwell parish councillor David Elsey said: "We've got a real problem and if there's an epidemic, the cemetery could fill up in a week."We need to find another suitable site and doing it with a neighbouring parish council will split the cost."We're very keen to work with other parish councils rather than getting North Somerset Council to compulsory purchase land, which is never popular."Deborah Yamanaka, North Somerset Council's executive member for environment and community, said she was pleased parish councils were thinking about a cemetery that served more than one community.She said: "It would relieve pressure on other cemeteries that are in danger of becoming full.

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