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Thursday, 31 October, 2002, 19:02 GMT
Compulsory purchase for cemetery
Arnos Vale Cemetery
The cemetery dates back to the Victorian period
The future of a troubled cemetery looks secure after a compulsory purchase order was granted.

The historic Arnos Vale graveyard in Bristol has been the centre of controversy since its owner revealed he wanted to sell the site for development.

Tony Towner, suggested relatives of those buried in the Brislington-based cemetery should be prepared to remove their remains.

That move led to a public outcry and forced the council to take action.

The confirmation of the order is superb news

Richard Smith

Officials of Bristol City Council have now confirmed that a compulsory purchase order has been issued.

The substantial Victorian cemetery contains the remains of thousands of Bristolians, but has been neglected over the past 20 years.

In 2001, Mr Towner's Bristol General Cemetery company said it could no longer afford to run the site and tried to sell it on for development.

Bristol City Council stepped in and ordered an independent inquiry, after Mr Towner refused an offer of 100,000 for the site.

'Long road'

The compulsory purchase order was made by deputy prime minister, John Prescott's office on Thursday.

Mr Towner, who has six weeks to appeal against the decision, refused to comment on the order.

Richard Smith of the Friends of Arnos Vale, said: "The confirmation of the order is superb news.

"It's another major step on a very long road."

The move opens the way for the council to take possession of the cemetery and hand it over to a charitable trust.

The trust would then embark on a multi-million pound restoration programme.


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