Request to buy 'green' burial site

By Richard SmithCRITICS of a plan to set up a green burial site in woodland have asked for a district council to apply for funding to buy the area for the public.

By Richard Smith

CRITICS of a plan to set up a green burial site in woodland have asked for a district council to apply for funding to buy the area for the public.

Martlesham Parish Council wants Suffolk Coastal District Council to investigate the possibility of finding grants to buy Dr Brittain's Wood and save it from being turned into burial land.

Lynne Lodge, parish clerk, told the district council it was normal practice to site green burials on open land and then to plant trees. But in Martlesham the applicants wanted to cut down trees to make space for the burials, she said.

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Mrs Lodge added the development would establish a precedent for the use of adjoining land and the proposed 1.8m high chain link security fence would restrict the movement of wildlife.

The Brittain family wants permission to use 44 acres of woodland near Walk Farm and turn it into 30 plots (each plot could take several burials) and have parking for 20 cars.

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This is the third application. One plan was refused as it included several buildings and the second plan, involving the destruction of large areas of woodland, was also turned down.

John Nayler, of Walk Farm, said the amount of land set aside for the burials would dominate the woodland.

He added: ''The case for building a perimeter fence is very odd as there would be nothing on the site to attract vandalism or theft and would restrict access for visitors.''

Bruce and Judy Leonard, of Felixstowe Road, said the removal of trees would defeat the object of having an environmentally friendly green burial site.

They said the woodland provided a natural break between an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the old village and Martlesham industrial estate, and to change the use to commercial would set a dangerous precedent.

They added this was one of the most important nesting sites for nightingales and the birds would be at risk when dense scrub, their natural habitat, was destroyed.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust's conservation officer Dr Simone Bullion said she wanted the applicants to increase the area available for heathland restoration as this would encourage the recolonisation by silver-studded blue butterflies.

Anne Westover, of the district council's development and policy unit, said: ''I feel we should support the creation of a green burial site somewhere in the southern area of the district or Ipswich vicinity. However, the use of valuable existing woodland (as opposed to a greenfield site) with poor access roads should be resisted.''

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