Case Study: Cemetery extension, London Borough of Bromley

Background

Our client sought to bring forward proposals for an extension to a cemetery in the London Borough of Bromley.  The proposal included additional gravestones, associated landscaping and tree removal, an extension to a road, pavements, a wooden lodge containing offices and new toilet facilities; cumulatively all these had caused concern amongst residents and the local civic society, feeding through to officers and members.

Challenge

The Bromley Local Plan, adopted in January 2019, designated the cemetery as a Conservation Area and a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. The cemetery also lay within the Green Belt and therefore clearing woodland to make room for additional graves proved to be controversial with residents and conservation groups. Increased traffic, access and disruption resulting from additional funeral services were some of the additional sources of concern. SP Broadway was brought on board to gain a full understanding of officer and councillor concerns, to explain the plans to local stakeholders and to bring all parties together ahead of the submission of the planning application.

Solution

  • SP Broadway facilitated meetings between the cemetery and a range of key stakeholders, including ward councillors and the local civic society, in order to hear their views on the proposed cemetery extension and discuss solutions.
  • The civic society was particularly interested in protecting trees, and the possibility of rewilding parts of the cemetery was discussed.
  • Elected councillors were given a guided tour of the existing cemetery, which included presenting the revised cemetery masterplan, understanding the extent of tree loss/new tree planting and new access arrangements.

Result

Once ward councillors and civic leaders’ concerns had been addressed, officers felt able to bring the scheme through planning.   Bromley Council Planning Committee voted to approve the proposals by six votes to three.

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