The Leader of Redditch Conservatives, Councillor Matt Dormer, has announced today that he has instructed officers at Redditch Borough Council to work with him directly explore all options in relation to the provision of burial land within the Borough of Redditch and that he will personally review the list of previously explored sites.
Matt Dormer said:
“I am aware of concerns from local residents in regards to Ipsley Meadow and I share their concerns. The area of land was previously ruled out when this issue was last looked at in 2010. Since then, under 6 years of Labour control, nothing has been done and we were left with no options apart from this one.”
Once burial space is exhausted in Redditch it may result in people having to bury their loved ones outside of the town, which is a situation Redditch Conservatives is keen to avoid.
“Labour sat on this for 6 years, are against the proposed solution and have no alternative plan of their own. I can only assume they were happy with the possibility of Redditch residents having to bury their loved ones in Bromsgrove or further away. As leader, and as a party, we do not find that an acceptable position. The people of Redditch want the option to be buried in Redditch and I support their wishes.”
“However, I think it is best for the council to take a full look at all the other viable options alongside this one and for it to make a fully informed and transparent decision when the time comes, and one that can be fully supported by our residents who we will work with to solve this problem.”
The planning application for change of use will, however, remain live as this is an important part of assessing the viability of any site, and it may be necessary as part of the fresh examination of all sites that additional change of use applications may be required to understand if they are viable.
Alternative sites previously considered but ruled out include Egioake Lane, Brooklands Lane and Plymouth Road, which would require graves to be re-used, a move previously ruled out due to costs and potential objections from descendants.
“There is significant extra work involved in re-assessing all the additional sites, and now is the time for the public to come forward with sensible alternative sites they would like to be examined. I will ensure the examination process that I am undertaking personally is fully transparent so the public can understand the problems the council is facing on this issue, and I will ensure the council works with the public on any final option to ensure we mitigate concerns and provide the best possible burial site.”
“Unlike the Labour Party, we are not going to sit on this issue and do nothing for 6 years. We’re listening to our residents, and I’m especially grateful to Alex Fogg for his constructive and thoughtful engagement on this issue, however we have to be clear that time is running out on this issue and we really cannot afford to delay much longer.”
Welcoming the decision, Alex Fogg said:
“I am pleased that Matt Dormer has ordered a full re-assessment of all the options and will personally oversee the review of the list. I look forward to working constructively with him and local residents to solve this problem in the best way possible for the long term of our town. Whatever we end up with as a solution has got to work, and has got to be well supported.”
“It’s a really difficult situation as the legalities surrounding many other potential sites are a significant obstruction due to the timescale issues and how long this issue has been left before now. I know the council and the public will work hard to find potential alternatives sites, identifying the processes involved and to gauge understanding of what is achievable at those sites for the time and money available.”
“We have been listening to the residents of Matchborough and Ipsley and we are grateful for the time taken to raise their concerns. I want to thank the council leadership team for assisting me with this as I am determined to explore suitable alternatives to fullest extent possible.”