It’s a grave issue - Horncastle Town Council appeals for land after plans for ‘new’ cemetery are washed out

What the new graveyard might have looked like
What the new graveyard might have looked like

Town councillors in Horncastle are appealing for help from the public - because they are running out of space to bury people.

The News can reveal there are only enough ‘plots’ at the town’s Boston Road cemetery for the next four years.

The council thought it had identified a suitable site for a new cemetery off Woodland View, behind the recently built Jehovah’s Witness Centre. It is understood the council earmarked the land four years ago.

Since then, all discussions regarding the site have been held in secret with the press and public banned.

However, the council only tested the suitability of the site earlier this month, despite the fact the land is close to the ‘old’ River Bain.

According to sources, regulations mean any new graves must be dug to a minimum of seven feet, before water is discovered.

However, the ‘test’ graves started to flood after just 2ft.

As a result, the council has ended all interest in the site.

Town clerk Gillian Mauger confirmed the council was now looking for another site.

She appealed for anyone with any land to contact her.

Mrs Mauger also stressed the council had not wasted taxpayers’ money because it had not agreed a final deal for the Woodland View site.

She also said there was no need for residents to panic because the existing cemetery would last for at least another four years.

Mrs Mauger added: “There has been some (council) outlay involved but that was at the start of the process because we needed to get an independent valuation on what the land was worth

“That apart, we have not spent anything. All we have wasted is a lot of time.”

She confirmed that in hindsight, the council should have tested the suitability of the site much earlier. Apparently, the council had sunk ‘test graves’ after advice from the Environment Agency.

Ms Mauger said: “We are back to square one and if anyone has any land then we would like to hear from them.

“The problem is we are competing against developers and I think everyone knows the cost of land in Horncastle is very expensive.”
She conceded another problem was the fact people were reluctant to see new graveyards established “at the bottom of their garden”.

Mrs Mauger confirmed there was enough space at the Boston Road cemetery for four or five years but admitted that depended on the current burial-rate being maintained.

She defended the council’s decision to hold discussions in private, saying it met guidelines concerning contracts and financial issues.