New bid for cemetery at site of rejected plan
A town council is facing a new battle to get a cemetery built in the countryside.
Syston Town Council has been trying to find a new cemetery site for more than a decade as its graveyard is running out of space.
Three years ago, its application for a four-acre site on farmland in Ridgemere Lane was turned down by Charnwood Borough Council as councillors decided it was not a suitable road for a busy cemetery.
Now, town councillors are planning to try again with a tweaked proposal for the same site, involving better road improvements and landscaping.
However, it is expected many villagers from nearby Queniborough will object to the proposal.
Stephen Hampson, chairman of Syston Town Council, said there was no alternative site within the town boundaries and town council members were convinced that the Ridgemere Lane location was the best.
He said: "When I joined the council 13 years ago, there were already concerns about the lack of space left in the cemetery.
"Since then, we've somehow managed to fit in about 260 more people by ripping up footpaths and pulling out trees. There always seems to be room for one more.
"But we are going to need a new cemetery and there's nothing within Syston that we can afford.
"Every blade of grass within the boundaries of Syston is potential development land, so we can't afford it."
He said the new application would be more sympathetic to the countryside setting and include a wider junction where Ridgemere Lane meets Barkby Road.
He said the four-acre site would only fill up by about 20 graves a year, meaning much of the site would still be available for farming in decades to come.
In Queniborough, where a plan to build a wind farm on land at Ridgemere Lane was successfully fought off two years ago, some residents are preparing to oppose the plan every step of the way.
Daniel Grimley, a borough councillor representing Queniborough and Barkby, said he expected a lot of complaints from both villages.
He said: "There are a lot of concerns over the damage this proposal will do to the area. There's the loss of green land from the creation of a large car park and concern about the roadworks required, which will change the character of what is a very pleasant rural lane.
"I don't mind Syston Town Council looking at a site beyond their boundaries, but that does also mean longer journeys from Syston to visit the cemetery."
Queniborough resident Jim Pearce, 49, said: "I don't think it's a suitable place for a cemetery, especially with the car park.
"It's nice countryside."
A 46-year-old resident, who did not want to be named, told the Mercury: "People go up there a lot and although this might not be as bad as the wind farm they were trying to build up there, it's still going to change and people aren't happy about that."