Cemetery re-think plea turned down

Little Harries Lane - site for the new cemetery. (S)
Little Harries Lane - site for the new cemetery. (S)

HARROGATE Borough Council is to press ahead with its plans to provide a new burial site for Ripon on Little Harries Lane.

The local authority has reaffirmed its commitment to its original proposals after being asked by Ripon City Council to look at other options, including alternative sites and addressing security concerns.

Coun Nick Brown, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for public protection and rural affairs, says the city council cannot keep on asking for further sites and options to be investigated.

“We looked at all their proposals when we were requested to in the summer of 2010,” he said.

“The city council received the results of those investigations and, as its letter of November 9, 2010, shows, they understood the problems and the need to get on with work at Little Harries Lane. At that time no other options or sites were proposed by the city council.”

The city council’s letter of November 9 stated: “The members would like to express their thanks for exploring the options of developing the existing cemetery. They now fully understand that this is not an option and you (Harrogate council) have to commence work on the Little Harries Lane site.”

While the additional investigations have been undertaken, Harrogate council said costs for the scheme have increased from the original estimate of £175,000 to £210,000 – partly due to including additional items to make the cemetery as good as possible but also due to inflation.

Borough officials say the Little Harries Lane site will provide for burials for at least 100 years once the current Kirkby Road site is full, which could happen in two years’ time.

Coun Brown added: “Ripon city councillors must wake up to the realities of the current economic climate.

“This is a large amount of money we have allocated to Ripon, and they must realise that money spent on CCTV and lighting – which are not in place in any other cemeteries in the district – would be a totally unacceptable and unnecessary burden on the council taxpayer in these difficult times.”

Harrogate Borough Council has also rejected the idea space in the Kirkby Road site could be used more effectively to prolong its use.

The idea was raised at a meeting of Ripon City Council on July 4, as reported last week.

A Harrogate Borough Council spokesman said: “Although the borough council hasn’t yet heard from the city council following its meeting on July 4, it would seem that one of their latest proposals would be to re-figure the Kirkby Lane site.

“The borough council can only assume the suggestion would be to use some of the access roads and footpaths. This has already been discounted as they aid visitors getting about and also add to the ambience of the cemetery.

“Not only that but the borough council believes it is unnecessary as there is ample opportunity to develop the new cemetery in time to provide the much-needed burial space.

“Even if this re-figuring were pursued it would not give the long-term future provision that the new site on Little Harries Lane will by providing more than 2,000 spaces.”

• A public meeting will be held in Ripon to give residents the chance to look at and comment on design proposals for the cemetery extension on Little Harries Lane.

It takes place at Ripon town hall on Tuesday, July 26, from 3.30-7.30pm, where council officers and consultants Cemetery Development Services will be on hand to present and discuss the plans with residents and interested groups.