Graveyard: Planners vote 8 to 1 for change at Ipsley Meadow

PLANS for a change in use at Ipsley Meadow from “open meadows” to a cemetery were approved by an eight-to-one vote by the Redditch Borough Council planning committee tonight, Wednesday October 13th.

In doing so, members exceeded 837 letters of objection and signatories to two petitions, passionate pleas from local residents overnight and appeals from two Matchborough councilors, Juliet Brunner (Ind) and Alex Fogg (Con).

Speakers denounced the loss of ecology, green spaces, loss of amenities, poor quality of transport, increased traffic and pollution.

However, although bitterly disappointed with the outcome, activists took some comfort in the small victories won.

Stephen Williams, who in his speech only took nine minutes to tear up the council’s request, said after the vote: “If we hadn’t pitched 18 months ago, God knows what they would have come up with.

“As it is, the change in use is packed with conditions on what they can do with the land.

“Now they know that when they apply to develop a cemetery, it will be subject to a lot more scrutiny. “

He was supported by his fellow activist Ivan Willcock who, in his appeal for advisers, questioned the legality of the council’s plans.

He said: “They have included in the request a piece of land which is subject to a restrictive covenant, so that they are not in a position to make a legal decision until they have explained what they are going to do. do about it. “

Approval of the change in use was proposed by Councilor Aled Evans (Con, Headless Cross & Oakenshaw) who even went so far as to suggest that a change in use would allow: “Enhance the public’s use of it in that any of Redditch have the right to scatter their remains there.

It was seconded by Councilor Tom Baker-Price (Con, Headless Cross & Oakenshaw) who said Councilors were limited by planning regulations on the grounds for denying an application and that many objections e.g. for ecological reasons, had been satisfied. .

Only Councilor Andy Fry (Lab, Lodge Park) spoke against it. He said: “This is the perfect dilemma for planning – there is nothing wrong with Redditch City Council’s request for a cemetery on its own land, nothing wrong with 800 people saying it is. wrong.

“It’s definitely a great part of Redditch – should we lose that open space?”

“I don’t want to see it lost as the main open space, so I won’t support the officers’ recommendation.”

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Chris B. Hall

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