Harrogate Borough Council has defended its plans for a new cemetery in Ripon.
The borough council has rejected claims from Ripon city councillors that the new site, planned for Little Harries Lane, is isolated and unsuitable for burials.
Councillors Pauline McHardy and Andrew Williams spoke out at a meeting last week, saying they objected to plans for Little Harries Lane which was described as inaccessible, isolated, dangerous, and, as a spot popular with dog-walkers, a “degrading” place for loved-ones to be laid to rest.
But in a written statement, the borough council said the city council had expressed support for Little Harries Lane as long ago as November 2010.
“Despite some city councillors’ assertions, Ripon City Council has in fact already confirmed that it is content that other sites for an extension to the cemetery are not an option and that we had to go with Little Harries Lane.”
If work does not start on a new cemetery for Ripon the city could be left without any space for burials in only two years, the statement added, and extending the current site on Kirkby Road is impossible because of “insurmountable” drainage problems.
Councillor Nick Brown, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Rural Affairs said: “It is very frustrating for the city council to start voicing opposition now. We were asked by the city council to investigate an alternative option to Little Harries Lane, which we did over a considerable period, but there were continued problems with the other site that would have resulted in it being rejected by the Environment Agency.
“These further investigations were time consuming, yet supported and funded by the borough council, as we wanted to make sure that all options had been properly considered and that is why we consulted the city council.”
The city council received results of investigations into other options for the cemetery extension, the statement added, and wrote to the borough council on November 9, 2010 thanking them for their efforts and saying the city council understood the need for work to progress at Little Harries Lane.
Coun Brown also said an initial consultation on May 19 showed 63 percent thought Little Harries Lane was a good or excellent location for a new cemetery.
“It would seem that some of the city councillors are not aware of the support for the site.”
Since November work has continued and plans for the Little Harries Lane site are now well underway, the borough council said.
The plans are still going through a public consultation and the next public meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 26 between 3.30pm and 7.30pm in Ripon Town Hall.
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