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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 July, 2003, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Gardeners to make way for burials
A shortage of burial plots has forced a council to earmark an allotment as a new cemetery.

Plotholders at the Harborough Road allotments in Northampton have been served notice so the land can be used to expand the neighbouring Kingsthorpe Cemetery.

Northampton Borough Council has decided to act after fears that half of the town's cemeteries will be full in seven years' time.

Chris Jordan, head of community environmental services at the local authority, said the decision was made because cemetery capacity was dwindling.

We're in a situation where because of their age, certain tenants don't really fancy the prospect of taking on a new piece of ground
Neil Hateley
Northampton Borough Allotment and Gardens Council
"It is not at the panic stage yet but we want to come back with long-term proposals," he said.

"In the short-term, we are trying to fill gaps, so to speak."

Shortage of space at cemeteries is becoming an increasingly common problem in towns and cities across the UK.

On average 431 new graves are needed in Northampton each year but it is estimated that only two of the town's seven cemeteries will have any spaces left in a year's time.

The council will help to relocate the 19 plot-holders at 72-plot allotment elsewhere in the town, if required.

No 'long-term planning'

Neil Hateley, the vice-chairman of the Northampton Borough Allotment and Gardens Council (NBAGC), said plot-holders had known about the possibility of cemetery expansion for some years.

But they were disappointed that the plans appeared to be have been brought forward.

He said: "If people are going to move from one site to another ad infinitum, it doesn't do much for the long-term planning of gardening which is something the council seem to be unable to comprehend.

"We're in a situation where because of their age, certain tenants don't really fancy the prospect of taking on a new piece of ground."

The council said there were no current plans to close any other allotment sites in Northampton and they were working with Mr Hateley and the NBAGC to produce an allotment strategy for the town.




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