Problem that isn’t dead and buried

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A call for land has been issued as the town’s ‘problematic’ lack of burial space worsens.

As things stand Leighton-Linslade’s burial capacity will last just ten years– after which there is currently no contingency in place.

Based on audit findings by the University of York the town’s cemetery situation is said to be ‘problematic’ as there is “still some virgin space remaining, but insufficient to meet demand for the next 20 years”.

As such Leighton-Linslade Town Council has issued a plea to local land owners who may be interested in striking a deal.

Cllr Amanda Dodwell told the LBO: “We are always looking at ways to ensure we maintain burial space within the town. For many people it is important to be able to use a cemetery within the local parish to lay their loved ones to rest.

“The town council has a responsibility to ensure that we have capacity to meet the wishes of residents, and we are now looking for a suitable site to meet the projected needs for the next 100 years.”

A council report into the shortfall reveals that for every 25 years, 3.8 acres of fresh burial land is needed.

An extension to the Vandyke Road cemetery last year delayed the urgent need for space but the town council has now set its sights on finding 15.28 acres of land needed to answer the question for the next century.

The authority has said that the site would be developed with ‘minimum impact’ on the current landscape and that landscaping would be sympathetic to the environment.

Ian Haynes, head of environmental services, told the LBO: “We are making an appeal to landowners but there is also the possibility of buying on the open market if the right piece of land came up.

“We are working through the options now but the ideal world scenario would be that a landowner speaks to us as ten years can come and go quite quickly.

“We have already reviewed all our existing assets and we don’t believe we have anything which is suitable.

“There is no known figure for this type of thing, it could be really cheap or astronomically expensive.”

Mr Haynes added that any land purchased could have secondary uses prior to being converted for burial plots.

He said: “We would temporarily have allotments and public open spaces but the reason for purchase would be so that it can be used as an asset.

“At the end of the day the land would be purchased for a cemetery.”