Melton: Developers fill in graves left uncovered at St Audry’s site

DEVELOPERS have now filled in graves that were left exposed following an excavation.

Concerned residents were appalled after making the gruesome discovery on the site of the former chapel at the old St Audry’s psychiatric hospital in Melton, near Woodbridge.

The land - which is close to Calder Road - is owned by Hopkins Homes.

Diggers were on site yesterday and a spokeswoman for the developer said the graves had been filled.

She said the excavation had been carried out by an approved and registered archaeological contractor and in strict accordance with a brief and specification approved by Suffolk County Council’s archaeological department.

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The graves, which are believed to date from the 19th and 20th Centuries, were understood to have been left open for a number of months, many with the skeletons still in tact.

Local residents Reg and Bee Holles-Perkes were appalled when they made the discovery while having tree surgery carried out at their property.

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Last night Mrs Holles-Perkes said they would now like to investigate the possibility of establishing a memorial garden for those buried on the land.

“We’re obviously very pleased that something has now been done,” she said. “However, it should never have happened in the first place.

“There are a number of graves that are unmarked. Clearly there are people still concerned, there may still be family in the area. If there is enough interest then perhaps we can try and establish a memorial garden on the land.

“I would ask anyone who might have information about who is buried there or who might be able to help to get in touch.”

The excavation was carried out by Archaeological Solutions Limited, which is based in Hertford.

Jon Murray, project manager previously declined to comment, saying all work for clients was confidential.

A spokeswoman for Hopkins Homes said the land was deconsecrated in 1998 and carried out in an area where there was no evidence of any graves.

She said despite a desire to immediately backfill the excavations, the county council asked for this not to happen until they had considered the report and consulted further.

She said the graves were backfilled following the delivery of a non-acid hessian sheeting that was placed in the graves before replacing the soil.

“We are very disappointed that it has taken the time it has to conclude matters however we have ensured that all of the works that have been undertaken have been in strict accordance with the relevant briefs and specifications,” she said. “We further confirm that there is no intention to submit a planning application on the area of the graves.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council confirmed they asked for the bodies to be covered with hessian but denied delaying the backfilling by needing time to consider the report and consult further.

Anyone with information about the graves who would like to help Mrs Holles-Perkes can e-mail and the details will be passed on.

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