‘RIDICULOUS’ council rules left a parish council out of pocket because planners didn’t believe extending a Quedgeley cemetery meant that it would also be used as a burial ground.
The cemetery at St James Church has been extended by Quedgeley Parish Council because the existing graveyard has run out of room.
But when the parish council tried to use planning consent dating back to 1989 which gave permission for an extension to the cemetery, they were told by Gloucester City Council planners that they should pay for a new application to state that it would be used for burying bodies. New applications can cost up to £385 per 0.1 hectares.
Parish councillor Steve Smith said: “It is quite frankly rubbish. I have never heard anything so ridiculous. What else would a cemetery be extended for other than to be a burial ground?”
Fellow councillor Julian Powell added: “The cemetery is a burial ground. It is quite simple. But it is cheaper to apply for a second planning permission than to challenge this advice.”
Councillor Barry Kirby, who stepped down as a parish councillor last week, said: “If common sense had been applied by the city council this need never have happened.”
A city council spokeswoman said: “To use land as a burial site the correct consents must be given. The previous application made in 1989 to Stroud District Council (before the boundaries were reviewed) made no reference to burials taking place on the land.
“Officers advised that the best course of action would be to submit a planning application to the city council which specified what the land would be used for, to ensure the correct consents had been sort. If however the parish council could demonstrate the use in the 1989 included burials, then this could be lawful.”
Parish councillors are eager to start using the site after a huge amount of interest from Quedgeley people who want to reserve a spot for themselves and their loved ones.
Mr Smith, who has co-ordinated the parish council’s cemetery plans, said: “We have got a number of applications from people in the community interested in buying graves. We agreed that we would sell no more than 25 per cent of them.”