‘Grave’ concerns over new burial site near Bedfordshire village

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Residents are rallying together, for a second time, to oppose proposals for a ‘natural’ burial ground in their village.

Initial planning permission was refused by Wilstead Parish Council over a year ago, after furious Wilstead residents opposed the plan raising water pollution concerns.

The proposed eco-burial site for Cotton End Road will use bio-degradable coffins in shallower graves with no headstones.

But residents have already officially objected to the scheme, pointing out the land regularly floods with six to eight inches of standing water.

The concerns come after studies suggest that chemicals from corpses seep from cemeteries and contaminate nearby water.

The impact on the UK is being examined by a team from the Environment Agency and the British Geological Survey.

However this team suggests planning agencies need to consider the extent to which decomposing bodies contaminate the water supply.

In addition to this, residents have also raised concerns that the burial ground will not be ‘in keeping’ with the village or its surroundings.

One concerned resident said: “There’s residental properties at either side of the proposed site and I think it should definitley be somewhere more remote.

“It was refused before on lots of grounds including the local flooding issue and traffic.

“We haven’t got the time or energy to keep battling these applications but it would be awful.

“To put a burial ground in the middle of a residential area just doesn’t make sense, we have grave concerns about hygiene, water contamination and the roads.

“We feel like we’re being ignored, but there’s so many risks involve din this application and so much could go wrong.”

A spokesperson from developers Cemetery Development Services said: “We can confirm there are no pollution issues and the site will be reviewed by the environmental agency.

“During testing it had one of the lowest risk scores and as for location concerns, we have addressed this by placing it as far from housing estates as possible.

“The proposal has not failed any test or protocols and we’ve made an application that we think is fair.”