Newts won’t hold up new cemetery plans in town

The site of the new cemetery where hopefully councillors won't discover any Great Crested Newts
The site of the new cemetery where hopefully councillors won't discover any Great Crested Newts

Councillors in Horncastle have shrugged off fears that long-awaited plans for a new town cemetery could be delayed even Great Crested Newts.

The town council has determined to provide a new cemetery because space is running out at the current facility off Boston Road.

A couple of years ago, plans had to be scrapped after ‘test’ graves flooded because of the proximity of the River Bain.

Since then, councillors have identified a new site - at the junction of (Boston Road A153 with the B1183 to Revesby.

However, they have encountered several problems - the latest of which is a pond.

As part of the planning process, a full Ecology and Species report had to be carried out at the site.

That report mentions the pond and recommends checks are made to discover whether Great Crested Newts are present.

The newts are a protected species and have caused other major development projects to be delayed.

At their meeting earlier this month, councillors were worried the presence of newts could delay the cemetery project.

However, town clerk Amanda Bushell assured councillors even if newts were found, the application would still go ahead as planned.

Coun Angela Birchall questioned why the car park at the site had to be unlocked every morning - and locked again in the evening. She said it would add to staff costs.

Council chairman Coun Brian Burbidge said the reason was because the car park was used for what he described as people taking part in ‘certain activities after dark’’ in their cars.

He added if the car park was unlocked, those activities would continue.

Councillors are spending more than £120,000 on the cemetery project and a decision by planners at ELDC is expected on March 16.

Councillors are still waiting for a reply from the Environment Agency which has raised concerns about a nearby watercourse that could restrict the amount of land available for graves.