Cemetery extension ‘essential’ as Solihull burial site runs out of room
Options to expand a Solihull cemetery – which is set to run out of space in the near future – are being urgently investigated.
A council report has reiterated recent warnings that the current Woodlands site will be full within five years, depriving residents in the north of the borough of their main burial space.
The bereavement services strategy, approved this week, said it was “essential” that land was secured to enable an expansion.
Last year, councillors had urged officers to continue investigations into the opportunities to extend the existing facilities, which sit between Coleshill and Chelmsley Wood.
And on Wednesday night, the bereavement services team said they were keen to bring forward a report “as soon as possible”.
Julie Williams, the department’s operational support manager, said: “In addition to the ageing cremator, we only have three to four years of available land, so we are looking at where we can purchase additional land.
“We do plan to bring a whole separate report with all our options costed out, which will just be about Woodlands.”
Cllr Kathryn Thomas (Lib Dem, Lyndon) had asked about the likely timetable for the plans, given the dwindling number of available plots.
While officers said there wasn’t a date in place at present, they admitted the issue was “time critical.”
“Once we’ve purchased the land we need then to prepare it for burials, so it [needs to be] as soon as we possibly can,” said Ms Williams.
An expansion of Woodlands, which opened in the 1980s, would need planning permission and must also meet Environment Agency requirements.
And any proposal would be slightly complicated by the fact that the site in fact lies just over the Warwickshire border.
Cllr Alison Rolf, cabinet member for stronger and safer communities, said: “I know that there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes, and has been for some time, to try and find the best solution possible.”
The bereavement services strategy sets out how the council intends to meet future demand, with Solihull’s population set to increase to 226,800 by 2029 – up from around 214,000 today.
A policy approved back in 2012 was originally intended to cover a 30 year period, but the council has conceded the area is rapidly changing and there was a need to revisit the issue.
The updated document will cover a shorter 10 year timespan and will also be subject to an annual review going forward.
Read more: https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/cemetery-extension-essential-solihull-burial-16353810