Burials set to stop in Essex town

PLANS to officially close the churchyard in an Essex town so burials no longer take place have taken a step forward.Residents in Brightlingsea have been asked their views about the cessation of burials in All Saints as part of a 21-day consultation.

By Annie Davidson

PLANS to officially close the churchyard in an Essex town so burials no longer take place have taken a step forward.

Residents in Brightlingsea have been asked their views about the cessation of burials in All Saints as part of a 21-day consultation.

Rev Richard Salenius has applied to the Home Office for the closure because of a lack of space for new graves.


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The public notice announcing the plans appeared in the East Anglian Daily Times on Saturday.

But the proposal has been met with protests from residents and Brightlingsea Town Council.

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Now a public meeting will be held for the views of the community to be heard and then forwarded to the Home Office by the town council.

Tendring district and Brightlingsea town councillor Peter Patrick said it was felt the churchyard was not full and room could be found for further burials.

He said: "Virtually all of the parish council feel there is some space still available in the churchyard.

"There are not many burials per year, many people are cremated or already have reserved graves in the churchyard.

"A lot of representation has been made to the vicar and the parochial church council (PCC) who maintain there is no room. We maintain the stance that there is."

Mr Patrick added it was also possible to re-use old graves after 100 years provided the headstones were kept in place.

Rev Salenius said last night: "This goes back five years when we told the council that the churchyard was becoming full and they needed to think about that if they were going to take on the maintenance of it and if they wanted to provide any alternative because the church hadn't got the money to do so. We heard nothing.

"This time last year in January or February the last space as I saw it was filled although burials kept going on in double depth graves.

"To be honest I am infuriated by this because they (the council) have done nothing about this for five years and now all of a sudden the issue is coming back up.

"The rural dean, the archdeacon and the chancel of the diocese, who is the top legal man, have all backed up our decision and agree that the churchyard is full."

Rev Salenius said he would not be going to the public meeting, adding: "I really don't see the point as they do not want to hear my point of view."

The parish council has suggested a number of areas in the churchyard which could be used for new burials but Rev Salenius said it was not possible for reasons including access, unsuitable soil and because there were believed to be graves there dating back to before headstones were used.

Two planning application for a private cemetery next to All Saints have been turned down but Rev Salenius said the owner would be applying again in the future.

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