Memorandum by Carterton Town Council (CEM
Carterton Town Council is a burial authority
for the purposes of S214 of the Local Government Act 1972 with
a power to provide and maintain a cemetery whether inside or outside
the parish. Since its creation in 1985, the Town Council has maintained
a Cemetery at Black Bourton to the south of the town. In response
to the need for a new cemetery, the Town Council began searching
for a new site in 1990. This note summarises the Council's efforts
which are still continuing and draws the Inquiry's attention to
the problems that have been encountered.
Carterton is the second largest town in West
Oxfordshire with a population of some 14,000. The population of
the town is rapidly expanding with more than 1,000 new homes being
built in the NE corner of the town over the next six to eight
A civic cemetery was purchased by the Parish
Black Bourton in 1937 when Carterton was a community within the
then much larger parish of Black Bourton. This cemetery lies behind
St Mary's Parish Church in the village of Black Bourton to the
south of town. In 1985 Carterton and Black Bourton Parishes split
and the burial ground was, by Order, transferred to Carterton
Town Council. The cemetery covers approximately 0.5 acres and
there have been some 500 burials and ashes interments since 1946.
In recent years the number of burials in each year has ranged
from 6 to 23 with an average of 11. The average number of ashes
interments over the same period is seven.
In 1990 the Council resolved to purchase a new
site for a cemetery. The aim was to provide a site of between
three and four acres to provide sufficient space for burials for
a period of about 100 years. Ideally the new cemetery would be
within the boundaries of the town to provide easy access for residents.
Given that the ground conditions and in particular the level of
the water table and the depth of the soil are crucial, the Council
sought the advice of the then National Rivers Authority on several
parcels of land already in the ownership of the Council. The upper
geology of the Carterton area comprises a series of limestone
and clay sequences which tend to give rise to a perched water
table in the limestone and the NRA advised that much of the land
in the Council's ownership was unsuitable because of the ground
The Council also had discussions with a private
developer about an area of land on the southern edge of the town
which was unsuitable for housing because of the noise from the
aircraft at Brize Norton. However the only suitable access route
involved the purchase and demolition of a private property and
the Town Council did not feel it could justify such expense.
Between 1992 and 1997 the Council investigated
15 other possible sites, details of which are set out in Annex
A. None of these proved feasible for a variety of reasons including
unsuitable ground conditions, planning objections, poor access
or the unwillingness of the landowner to sell.
In 1997, the Council reconsidered the sites
already explored including the need for possible compulsory purchase
and also decided to look at land further afield. It was this review
that lead to consideration of a site at Alvescot
In 1998, the Town Council held discussions with
the owner of land at Oakeys Barn at Alvescot, about one mile to
the south west of Carterton. Trial holes suggested that the land
would be suitable ground and the Environment Agency were content
for part of the site to be used as a burial ground with ashes
interments in those areas with shallow soil. West Oxfordshire
District Council felt that the site was "visually very open
and located in a relatively isolated rural location" and
advised that if the cemetery were to be located at this site,
they would wish to see it designed in conjunction with an extensive
strategic landscaping scheme which would help to assimilate the
cemetery and give some screening and shelter.
The Town Council appointed landscape design
consultants to carry out an impact assessment and to prepare proposals
to accompany the Council's planning application for a cemetery
at this site. Vehicular access was identified in consultation
with the highways authority. The planning application was submitted
in January 1999. The West Oxfordshire planning officer recommended
approval of the application but in April 1999 the Planning Committee
refused the application on the grounds that "the cemetery
would represent an incongruous urbanising influence in an . .
. area of open countryside . . . and could set a precedent for
further urban developments". The Town Council appealed against
this decision and on 23 December was informed that the Planning
Inspectorate had dismissed the appeal on the grounds of the visual
impact that a cemetery would have.
The cost of the appeal, excluding the cost in
terms of staff time, amounted to a little under £3,000.
In addition to seeking to identify a new site
for a cemetery, the Council has also been trying to purchase an
area of land to extend the existing cemetery although, because
of the limited space available, this could only be a temporary
solution. Over the years the Council has approached the owners
of the land adjacent to the cemetery but this has proved largely
unsuccessful. One parcel of land is occupied by a public house
which has recently changed hands. The current owners of the premises
have indicated that following the successful outcome of a recent
planning application to extend the building, they might be willing
to sell the Council a parcel of land to the rear of their property
and this is now being pursued. If this sale were to go through,
it would provide sufficient space for burials for about 20 years.
Despite a search lasting ten years, the Town
Council has made no real progress towards providing a new cemetery
for Carterton. The Council has set aside funding of £60,000
over a period of years and remains committed to finding a site
which is accessible to the residents. The extension of the existing
cemetery will provide a short term solution. In the longer term
it seems that the best option may be to press West Oxfordshire
District Council to identify, in the local plan, a cemetery site
within the NE Carterton development area.
1. The OrchardTrial holes revealed
high water level.
2. Lane's EndGeneral conditions the
same as site 1.
3. Willow MeadowsLand owned by the
Council. Trial holes dug in 1997 revealed shallow rock.
4. Alvescot Road (site a)Not favoured
by West Oxfordshire District Council Planning Officer.
5. Alvescot Road (site b)Not favoured
by West Oxfordshire District Council Planning Officer.
6. The WarrenRock. MOD used explosives
in 1960s to build their balancing reservoir there.
7. Sunset ViewOwner not prepared
8. The Dell.Council owned land. Rock.
9. Shilton RoadNot favoured by the
West Oxfordshire District Planning Officer.
10. Trencherwood LandAccess problems
until such time as the new road to the A40 is constructed.
11. North of the Football ClubUnwilling
Owners and access problems.
12. AllotmentsOwned by the Town Council.
Known to be wet ground with a high water table.
13. Kilkenny Lane (West)Owner not
prepared to sell and poor access.
14. Country ParkAccess problems until
such time as the new road is built. Planning Officer is unwilling
to introduce other land uses into the Country Park. Access and
15. Kilkenny Lane (East)Owner not
prepared to sell.