Letter - Cemetery on rocky ground

Despite an ever-aging population in Darrington and with no spaces left in our churchyard, it was not I suspect, a philanthropic gesture by a developer to propose to build a new cemetery on green belt land at the end of a cul-de-sac in our village.

The planning department in Wakefield turned the application down but that decision was overturned on appeal.

The development is now underway and I notice that the developer has built what appears to be a barn close to a house. The developer has had to apply for ‘retrospective’ planning permission for this building.

When I investigated and read the supporting documentation associated with the new application I felt uncomfortable. It appears that a shed 2.6 metres high was originally proposed and agreed to. However, the constructed building is 3.5 metres high.

The supporting documentation in the retrospective application advises that the shed has had to be enlarged to house “larger excavators than originally anticipated and additional machinery including a tracked excavator with detachable hydraulic rock breaker”.

They have just discovered that the geology of the area is predominately limestone. There will be no need to toll our church bell when someone has died as we will all know as our houses will be shaking as the cemetery owners try to dig a grave in rock!

One of the reasons for the initial refusing of permission was on account of noise and disturbance to the villagers.

The developer stated in his original appeal that the proposal was to use a mini-digger that could dig a grave in 30 minutes!

Now we need rock breaking equipment! Another reason for overturning the original refusal was that the shed would be a “modest” building!

I suggest that it’s not the new shed that should be considered by the planning committee but that the whole project should be reconsidered because of the totally different impact of grave digging on the village.

Would the appeal against the original decision have succeeded had the geology been known?

This change to the way in which the graveyard will operate is not trivial and the whole project is worth reconsideration.

There’s something wrong with our planning laws when such a major change might well be waved through because of the application to increase the size to a building when in fact the focus should be on the noise!

As a child I used to enjoy the cowboy films where the hero would ride into a lawless town on the edge of civilisation and sort everything out.

Where’s John Wayne when we need him? Unfortunately he’s died and is “six foot under”.

Had he been buried in Darrington he’d only be “three foot under” because of the unexpected discovery of a limestone layer of rock!

Ian Thompson

Estcourt Drive