Expansion hopes for joint parish cemetery

Botolphs Cemetery, looking across to St Botolphs Church, in Annington Road D15071015a
Botolphs Cemetery, looking across to St Botolphs Church, in Annington Road D15071015a

A CEMETERY in an idyllic river valley setting could be set to expand.

The Joint Parishes Burial Board is hoping to purchase an extra plot of land, adjacent to Botolphs Cemetery in Annington Road, Botolphs.

The cemetery, which serves Steyning, Upper Beeding and Bramber, was created by the three parish councils in August 1988.

Colette Harber, clerk to the burial board, spoke about the plans at Steyning Parish Council last week.

“By cemetery standards, it is quite a young cemetery. It is now starting to fill up and we must look to see how much land we have got left and where the board can go with that,” she explained.

“They have decided they wish to purchase a further piece of land.”

She told the council the board had about £21,000 put by, which had been accrued from advance purchases of plots over the last five or six years.

Parish councillor Roger Toms is chairman of the board and parish council chairman Phil Bowell also serves on the board.

Mr Bowell said: “Ideally, we would like to buy a piece of land adjacent to the cemetery. This is agricultural land and we are awaiting confirmation from Horsham District Council so we can get a clear understanding if the change of use will be possible before we make the purchase.

“We want a piece of land between ½ acre and an acre.”

Mrs Harber has asked all three parish councils to consider a change in the constitution, which would allow the board to keep more money in reserve. The surplus has to be returned to the councils on a pro-rata basis.

“If we do manage to buy a piece of land, there will be on-costs,” she explained. These would include solicitor charges, a planning application for change of use and putting in footpaths.

The cemetery was started with £25,000 and at the time. Mrs Harber said a figure of £10,000 in reserve was agreed in 1988, which was equivalent to £28,000 in today’s money, so it was suggested the board now be allowed to keep £30,000 in reserve.

The board meets on Monday to discuss the expansion plans further.