NEW CEMETERY SEARCH: Burial sites whittled down in Stockton
TRACTS of land for new burial space in Stockton are being whittled down – with councillors eyeing up a shortlist of six sites north and south of the river.
Councillors narrowed down 11 sites to half a dozen at the latest place select committee in a bid to open a new space for the dead to ease wider pressures in the borough.
Sites at Sixfields, in Norton, and near Kirklevington Grange Prison were among those ruled out by members at a probe into burial provision in the borough.
However, early favourites for a new cemetery include two pieces of land west of Stockton, off Harrowgate Lane, two areas near Preston Farm Industrial Estate, and sites near Yarm and Ingleby Barwick.
The search comes more than a year after Stockton’s new crematorium opened off Junction Road.
Stockton Council has cemeteries at Cowpen Bewley, Thornaby and Durham Road at the moment.
But councillors have been told the last of these three was “nearing the end of its life expectancy” – with a new cemetery needed in the coming years.
Preston and Eaglescliffe
Land between Preston Park Industrial Estate and Preston Farm is one piece of land being eyed up as a potential extension to the existing parish cemetery.
A separate stretch hugging the railway line south of the A66 is also being examined.
Cllr Louise Baldock, member for Parkfield and Oxbridge, listed this pair as her favourites due to their good transport links – and how they were more easily reached by people from Stockton, to the North, and Yarm and Eaglescliffe, in the South.
Tthousands of new homes are set to be built west of Stockton in the coming decade.
Privately owned stretches off Harrowgate Lane, and further north near Outwood Academy Bishopsgarth, are being looked at as potential cemetery sites.
Fairfield councillor Bill Woodhead said there were a lot of houses planned at the back of Surbiton Road.
“There will be a tremendous amount of houses going on there,” he added.
“I wouldn’t object to any cemetery going on there because when you look at cemeteries, they’re always maintained and the properties don’t devalue at all.”
Yarm and Ingleby Barwick
Offering another cemetery south of the Tees was a principle backed by Thornaby Independent Cllr Luke Frost and Ingleby Barwick Independent Cllr Ross Patterson.
Land to the south of Ingleby Mill Primary School is privately owned – with officers explaining there were one or two reservations about transport links to the site.
However, the site south of Low Lane made the shortlist of six.
A late entry was a site opposite Yarm’s Tall Trees estate, off Green Lane.
Yarm independent Cllr Andrew Sherris offered up this privately owned chunk of land over concerns Yarm Town Council was running out of space at its Worsall Road cemetery.
He added: “The gravedigger keeps finding more space but certainly within the next 10 years, that site will be full.
“The land opposite Tall Trees is the only land they (the town council) could actually go for.
“If they didn’t get that, and there wasn’t a Yarm cemetery, the actual burials would fall on Stockton (Council) to take.”
More detailed studies on the shortlist of six will now be carried out by experts to see whether they’d be suitable.
Prices and exact plot sizes are also being tracked down as part of the probe.
Conservative councillor Alan Watson didn’t think the council should be buying up more land if it could help it.
He added: “If we own some of this land anyway, it would seem fruitless to go and buy some more when it’s going to cost taxpayers more money which we haven’t got.”
Meanwhile, Chairman Cllr Chris Barlow said they didn’t want to be coming back in a few decades time with burial space running out again.
“We don’t want to find ourselves back here in 20 years’ time,” he added.
“We need a site which is going to last us 70, 80,90 or 100 years.”
The review will continue next month.
Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter
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