Grave concern over wet burial space


Staff reporter (Border Counties)

OSWESTRY town council should act now to prevent a shortfall in burial plots.
The warning came from Councillor Martin Bennett who raised concerns about the amount of excess water present on the section of Oswestry Cemetery set aside for current and future use, claiming it could cause problems in the future if not dealt with now.
He revealed Severn Trent had installed a drain but it only collected water, rather than draining it away.
“It seems to be a combination of groundwater and surface water,” he said.
“It simply raises the question as to the amount of land available if we can’t use some of it due to the excess water.
“Do we actually have as much as we had assumed?”
He suggested it would not be a real problem in the next year or two but questioned whether the council would have enough land to cover them for the next 20 or 30 years
Cllr Bennett added: “If you’ve got an issue you can’t just ignore it, it would be irresponsible to leave it until it becomes a problem.
“It’s not a major crisis but it is a concern that needs to be looked at.”
Meanwhile the council has won support from Angela Bright, chairman of Oswestry Access Group, who commended the authority for trying its best to improve access to the cemetery after the gates were closed to cars over health and safety fears.
Some elderly and disabled visitors had complained the decision prevented them from tending the graves of their loved ones, but Oswestry Town Council said the safety of cemetery staff and other visitors had to be safeguarded against cars which could also cause damage to grass verges and gravestones.
Mrs Bright said: “Council clerk David Preston wouldn’t have asked to meet with me if the council didn’t care.
“He was very helpful and I do think the council has looked into all the options and is doing everything it can.”
She revealed the group would be inviting Mr Preston to one of their meetings to answer questions and supported the possible option of creating another access to the site from the Victoria Road side.
The clerk confirmed this was an option being explored by the council but admitted it was still hypothetical at the moment.
“The council is continually seeking to find solutions to create access to the cemetery for everyone,” he said.
“We are committed to trying to establish a right of way from Victoria Road and are in ongoing discussions with the landowners.”

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