Natural burial ground planners refuse to give up after appeal turned down
A plan for a huge burial ground has been thrown out by planning inspectors - but those behind the scheme are refusing to give up.
The natural burial ground, with space for more than 5,000 plots, had been earmarked for Bobbington but was turned down by council planners, who were not prepared to allow green belt land to be developed.
Hopes for the project have now received a fresh blow after an appeal was rejected by the Planning Inspectorate.
But James Meynell, one of the partners looking to bring the burial ground to the village, is determined to ensure the latest decision will not kill off the plans.
He has been forced to go back to the drawing board and says he is considering carrying out planning surveys to try and find a more suitable location.
A petition against the decision to reject the burial ground has also been launched in an effort to put pressure on South Staffordshire Council which, when rejecting the application, said the plan did not meet the "very special circumstances" required to build on green belt.
Mr Meynell insists the addition of the burial ground, north of Six Ashes Road, near Halfpenny Green Airport, would be a benefit for the land, which was previously a potato field, providing trees and an area for wildlife to flourish.
Unlike a traditional graveyard, natural burial grounds do not feature tombstones. Families can plant trees or place or memorials for loved ones, who are either buried or have their ashes placed in environmentally-friendly coffins.
Mr Meynell said: "Now the Planning Inspectorate has turned it down as well for the same reason as the council; it is green belt land and they are terrified of changing the use of it.
"Instead of a nice meadow and trees where people can walk around they are going to get a potato field.
"Many people still don't know what a natural burial ground is. They don't allow tombstones. They provide a beautiful resting place.
"We plan to carry out a new extensive survey, re-submit and hopefully they will look on us more kindly."
Mr Meynell added: "There is a shortage of burial grounds. Normal burial grounds in churchyards are all getting full. There is a big need for extra burial grounds."