Rightly proud of its Green Flag cemetery in Albert Road, the Town Council has been aware for some time that the space in that little quiet sanctuary will one day run out.
As the local burial authority, the council is not obliged to find a new cemetery once the existing one is full, but its strategic position has been to use land south of the allotments along Kanes Hill as a replacement location when the time comes.
Recent studies undertaken by the council have revealed, however, that to create a cemetery there is going to cost in the region of £400,000 and the highway authority have indicated that they would require works on the A27 costing another quarter of a million or so. Massive costs such as these are calling in to question the viability of the whole project.
In the meantime there is the problem of what to do with the land in the short term. Some of it is let for grazing. A proposal before the council at the moment is to spend £10-15,000 improving the rest of the land and boundary fencing so that it could all be let for grazing. If the cemetery project goes ahead in say five years then grazing rent would recover those costs and bring in a small surplus.
However if the cemetery project were put off indefinitely there would be a better business case for improving the land and using it either for community purposes or to generate income for the council.
Now that we have a new crematorium on our doorstep in West End, does it really make sense to have a huge new cemetery as well? Perhaps there is a better use for the land.