Woodland burial site to expand

Adam GrettonThe owner of Norfolk's first woodland burial site has spoken of his delight after expansion plans were given the green light.Adam Gretton

The owner of Norfolk's first woodland burial site has spoken of his delight after expansion plans were given the green light.

More than 2,500 people have been buried or had their ashes scattered at the Colney Woodland Burial Park since it was opened near Norwich almost 10 years ago.

The owner of the parkland, James Boddy, yesterday said that the lifespan of the site had been extended by an extra five to 10 years after South Norfolk Council approved an extension and wetland enhancement scheme.

The proposals, which would see excavation works along the lower part of the River Yare valley to create extra space at the burial park, were opposed by Colney parish meeting and the Yare Valley Society over the impact on wildlife and the environment, and traffic impact.

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Colney parish meeting argued that the plan appeared to be a new burial ground and raised fears about flooding and the harm the proposal would have on the look of the area.

Parish clerk Hazel Martin said at the time: "The proposals involve the destruction of a centuries-old river-side grazing meadow, a habitat that is nationally in decline."

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But the Environment Agency said the flood risk was acceptable and Norfolk Wildlife Trust had no objection.

The project was approved by South Norfolk councillors who deemed that the development was fitting with the area and would enhance the nature conservation value of the site.

Mr Boddy, of Colney Hall, said he hoped to start work, which would create almost two acres of extra burial space, next year after drawing up a management plan with Norfolk Wildlife Services. He said: "It will safeguard the future of Colney Wood for another five to 10 years and has made a big difference to the future viability of the park."

The Colney Wood Memorial Park caused controversy when it opened in 2000 because of its impact in a conservation area but since then the eco-friendly burial ground has won a clutch of awards.

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