West Norfolk councils clash over village churchyard closure plan
Anglicans have rejected claims that they sought the closure of a West Norfolk village’s churchyard for burials without consultation.
Parish council officials in Terrington St Clement say they were not warned of the move and their alternative proposals were not considered.
But members of the parish’s Parochial Church Council (PCC) deny that and claim their stance is support by regional church leaders.
The churchyard is set to be closed to new burials from next April and the PCC says it expects the remaining plots to be used up during the early part of 2021 at current rates.
But the parish council claims it was not “forewarned” of moves to close it before it was informed of plans to submit a closure application in November last year and that its own ideas for future provision were rejected.
A statement from the authority said it was prepared to take over maintenance of the churchyard and fund a new burial ground, if the PCC was willing to continue as the burial authority.
It added: “Unfortunately, this proposal was refused and was given no consideration.
“The council therefore perceived that in their opinion, the Parochial Church Council did not seem to want to negotiate and seemed determined to close the Churchyard and relinquish any responsibility for it.
“The council believe that after inspection of the churchyard there is arguably approximately 100 plots that could be utilised within the churchyard.
“The PCC would not consider investigating the possibility of reburial on old burial grounds which is a practice carried out by many other authorities.”
But the PCC says the parish did not respond to the proposal during the consultation timescale outlined under Ministry of Justice rules and two recent applications for burial plots have been turned down by officials of the Diocese of Ely.
It said: “The PCC has always sought to act transparently and it cannot accept that any proposal from the Parish Council was given no consideration.
“In particular, the PCC points out that the Chancellor of the Diocese of Ely has confirmed that the PCC’s reasons for not attempting to re-bury are sound.
“The PCC understands that times of change can be hard and hopes that the councils will be able to pursue the provision of a further area locally for the burials of all; Christians, those of other faiths and those of none.”