A planning application for a new cemetery in Buckingham is yet to be determined more than three and a half years after its initial submission.
Concerns for the lack of progress in approving the application were raised once again this week as it becomes increasingly clear that the timescales for achieving more burial space in Buckingham are worryingly aligned with when the space currently available is likely to run out.
Councillor Stuchbury said:
“If we have to start telling people that they can't bury their relatives in Buckingham then we've got to plan some communication around that.”
The Estates Manager at Buckingham Town Council, Lee Phillips, informed this paper that there are 34 plots currently left at the Brackley Road Cemetery, enough to last two years on average.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the proposed new cemetery, which would be located off the Tingewick Road, Mr Phillips has initiated proceedings to use additional land for burials at Brackley Road, but this will take at least 18 months to come to fruition, he estimates.
Likewise, the Tingewick Road cemetery, if it ever happens, is unlikely to be ready to accept burials for 18 months at the earliest.
Plans for the new cemetery were submitted to Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) in April 2015. A status update was first requested in January this year by Councillor Stuchbury, where he was assured the application was being progressed.
In April 2018, after a further chase up, AVDC wrote: “...We need to be thorough in ensuring that all legal obligations are secured through proper legal documentation.”
Following Mr Stuchbury's pointed question at the District Council meeting last Wednesday, which you can view in our online video, Jeff Membery, customer fulfilment assistant director at AVDC, wrote:
“This application has been outstanding longer than would usually be the case due to the fact that there were a number of complex issues to address, most recently the fact that the Council received conflicting legal advice about the best way of securing the transfer of the land to the Town Council in perpetuity.”
Since legal discussions are still ongoing, it's unclear as to the precise nature of the legal obstacles and why they're taking so long to resolve.