Land swap could help extension plans

Tuesday 16th November 2021 7:00 am

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A LAND swap for an extension to North Tawton’s cemetery may soon be agreed, to tackle the problem of ’overcrowding’ in the graveyard.

A local family approached North Tawton Parish Council to ask whether it wished to swap the land it had originally bought for the extension with a larger plot of land that they owned.

The proposed swap would be ’like for like’at no extra cost to the council.

Members initially refused the proposal, which was suggested to it several years ago, but is now reconsidering the possibility as the graveyard is running out of space. Encroaching tree roots had also led to loss of land space.

Cllr Steve Whiteley said: ’This might have some merit. It seems like maybe a good idea,’ while Cllr Ruth Tesa said: ’I do think we would gain from this.’

Currently, there is room for an extra 108 graves before an extension is needed but, following a recent inspection by Cllrs Ruth Tesa and Steve Whiteley it was discovered that over half these plots were unusable due to large tree roots and poor grave spacing. It is estimated that there is room for only 50 plots instead.

The land for the extension, which was bought 20 years ago, is a narrow strip behind the cemetery but the land offered by the family is a larger plot located next to the graveyard and is more convenient for the council to use.

It was decided that the land swap would provide the council with land that could be more easily accessed by machinery and vehicles to create grave plots.

The land swap would also provide the local family offering the swap with a larger area for a garden.

However, the council would need to reapply for planning permission since the previous application for permission expired some time ago.

The council decided that the estates committee would discuss plans with the relevant parties and bring its proposal back to the full council for a final decision.

Members of the public have raised concerns over the proposed swap.

Some have voiced worries that a public meeting on the final decision may not take place and have also questioned how much the proposal would cost to the taxpayer and and whether this was the best use of the money.

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