A Freedom of Information request was submitted to the Parish Council regarding Adderbury Cemetery by West Adderbury Residents Association. Please visit the Parish Council web site to read the exact response. https://www.adderburypc.co.uk/news-story.php?newsid=56.
The Parish Council would like to clarify the situation for residents with regard to grave spaces in Adderbury Cemetery.
In 2016, when the planning application came forward for one new house next to Adderbury Cemetery, the developer offered some community land for an extension to the existing Cemetery. This was a generous offer of community benefit for the village from a developer and would have secured extra grave space in Adderbury for a number of years.
The Parish Council supported the application, however it was refused by Cherwell District Council and when the application finally did get permission after appeal, the District Council did not include this community benefit.
This application prompted the Parish Council to investigate in more detail, the grave spaces it had available. Following a site meeting with the grave digger, it emerged that the initial estimate of 10 years’ worth of space being available was a low estimate because although there is a lot of stone in the Cemetery, this could be removed with a mechanical digger. This meant that there were more available double plots than had been thought.
Therefore, the Parish Council changed its policy to state that:
Grave spaces will be used in rotation. All graves are suitable to be dug as double depth graves. Should any stone be encountered during the grave digging process, it will be the undertakers’ responsibility to ensure the necessary equipment is used to remove the stone. This will be at the cost of the undertaker, not the Parish Council. No two adjacent grave spaces will be allocated instead of a double plot due to the undertakers’ not being able to remove the stone.
In addition, there were concerns about excessive surface water in the cemetery especially in section 4 (which is the area right at the back on the left-hand side). Therefore, the Parish Council also completed work to unblock the existing drains and the excavation of the ditch. This has all allowed the land around the cemetery to drain more freely so there were no issues this winter, despite the very wet weather. This has also increased the number of available plots.
In addition, the changes in the Parish Council’s policy to allocate the next plot available, not to allow selected plots to avoid stone, which had previously been the case, also helped considerably to ensure there is no land wastage.
Therefore, as you will see this demonstrates that the Parish Council took on board the concerns which had been raised and took action to free up more grave space.
There have also been very few burials in the Cemetery recently; there were five in 2018, five in 2019 and there have been five so far this year.
In addition, there are no plans to open a footpath from the Milton Road site through the Cemetery and this was not part of the approval of the planning application.