Burial ground homes plan condemned
CHURCH authorities have defended a plan to allow luxury homes to be built on the site of a former burial ground.Developers Megahart are currently working on providing more than 50 houses, cottages, and apartments on the site of the former Blythburgh Hospital.
CHURCH authorities have defended a plan to allow luxury homes to be built on the site of a former burial ground.
Developers Megahart are currently working on providing more than 50 houses, cottages, and apartments on the site of the former Blythburgh Hospital.
Although it was used as a hospital until the early 1990s, the buildings have a much longer history and from the 18th Century were known as the Bulcamp Union Workhouse.
It is believed that more than 2,000 men, women and children are buried on the site and one woman believes their last resting place should remain undisturbed.
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Sue Doherty, from Beccles, said: “The dead cannot speak, but I can and I shall continue to do so as I feel very strongly about more desecration to consecrated land.
“An estimated 2,000 bodies lie beneath an area of land, designated by the workhouse authorities, consecrated in the late 1700s, for the interment of those poor wretched souls who were unfortunate enough to be inmates of the workhouse.”
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She is also concerned that many people buried on the site died of smallpox and other infectious diseases and should not be disturbed in case it caused health problems for nearby residents.
But church leaders believe their decision to deconsecrate the site was justified as a memorial was being placed on the site.
Nick Clarke, communications director of the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, said: “One of the stipulations of allowing development on the site is that the developer pay for and erect a significant and appropriate memorial.
“The memorial will speak volumes to visitors about what went on at that place, much more so than the open ground you currently see.”
Mr Clarke's view was supported by Southwold architect Brian Haward, who has designed the memorial that will be placed on the site.
“I believe passionately that a fitting memorial is much more appropriate for this site. The suffering of the people who died here will now be remembered by future generations,” he said.
Mr Haward has had his designs for the memorial approved by church authorities.
The memorial will be in the form of a circle of bricks taken from the demolished workhouse.
On top of the bricks there will be a wooden cross made from timber taken from the tramps' house that also formed part of the old workhouse site.
There will also be an inscription around the memorial telling visitors about the importance of the site.