Coastal woods could become new burial site

David Oliver, applicant of a woodland burial site at Barn Plantation and Charles Wood, Aylmerton.PHO

David Oliver, applicant of a woodland burial site at Barn Plantation and Charles Wood, Aylmerton.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Norfolk's third woodland burial park could be built on the edge of a north Norfolk town.

The plan to adapt 55 acres of woodland off Holt Road, Aylmerton, near Cromer, has been submitted by David Oliver to North Norfolk District Council and could be decided on by the development committee on April 11.

If approved a wooden reception building, including a ceremonial hall for memorial services, space for 38 cars and a new access would be built next to Cromer cemetery.

Semi-retired lawyer Mr Oliver, who lives in London and Aylmerton, said: 'It is a good use for the woodland and it opens it up to the public. I am not looking to make a fortune but it seems to be like a nice occupation to have for my retirement. I am keen about wildlife and gardening and this enables me to do something that I have always enjoyed doing.'

He bought the 147 acre wood in 2001 and if approved the 55 acres could create space for 15,000 burials and ash internments.

Out of the 62 responses to the district council, 13 are in favour and 45 are against the plans.

Main concerns surround the proposed access road off Tower Road which is a one-way street.

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Agent Barry Holland said: 'Highways thought that Tower Road was the best access to get onto the site. They felt it was better than coming straight off the A148. You cannot argue with them.'

There are currently about 260 natural burial grounds in Britain.

In Norfolk there is only one operational site at Colney.

Mr Holland added: 'The woodland looks a bit tired and derelict at the moment and my client and I thought a burial site was a good way to clear it up and have a good facility for the area.'

The supporting statement for the plans said the Cromer cemetery could reach full capacity within the next 10 years and the scheme would help regenerate the area with increased biodiversity.

The site would carry out between four to five burials and about three or four ash internments each week; would boost business for local crafts people; and employ six full-time and two-part time staff.

The North Norfolk News reported last month that the Westerleigh Group would like to construct a £3m crematorium on land behind Cromer cemetery following 18 months of negotiations with Cromer Town Council.

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