'Urgent' search for new site as Shrewsbury cemetery nears capacity

The need to find a site for a new cemetery in Shrewsbury is now “urgent”, councillors have said.

Shrewsbury Cemetery. Councillors have said the need to find a new site is now urgent
Shrewsbury Cemetery. Councillors have said the need to find a new site is now urgent

With Longden Road Cemetery nearing capacity, Shropshire Council has been on the hunt for a new piece of land to meet future demand.

But options are running out after a number of potential locations were deemed unsuitable.

Bereavement services manager Mark Foxall told the communities overview committee that extra space had been created at Longden Road to buy more time to find a new burial ground site, which he said was proving a “significant challenge”.

He said: “I have near-exhausted the sites that are already within the council’s own estate.

“I have looked at one north of the Copthorne area and I have looked at one east in the Haughmond area, but neither of those sites showed great prospect so it may be that a new site might have to be acquired.

“The primary concern is to ensure that we acquire a site with the right environmental credentials.”

Mr Foxall said the proposed North West Relief Road (NWRR) could offer a solution.

He said: “It’s been brought to my attention that if that proceeds it may open up for acquisition and development of sites that previously had been ruled out.

“I’m not pinning all my hopes on that, I have got one or two more sites to look at around the town.”

An aerial view of Shrewsbury Cemetery. Photo: Google

Councillor Cecilia Motley, chair of the committee, asked what the cost to the council could be if land has to be purchased.

Mr Foxall said: “It will depend on where that site happens to be. Ideally we are looking for a site on the periphery of town to make it accessible to the residents.

“And it depends on the characteristics of that site currently, and what the realistic prospect for development would be.”

He said the price could be around the £1 million mark.

Other councillors asked whether community infrastructure levy (CIL) money could be used, and Mr Foxall said it would be an appropriate use of the funds.

This route is currently also being explored in Bridgnorth and Broseley to finance the creation of more cemetery capacity.

Councillor Keith Roberts said it was concerning that a new site was still yet to be found.

He said: “Can we make a recommendation that someone should be furthering this quite urgently?

“With all the new housebuilding going on around the town we do need some effort put into it. It does need a new cemetery urgently.”

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