Plans for a burial ground in Farndon have been revived with a fresh planning application submitted to Cheshire West & Chester Council.
Landowner the Barnston Estate has put forward plans for the natural burial ground, designed with timber-framed pavilion and a circular layout; there are also plans to include ornamental trees, a wildflower meadow, while there will also be views out to the Clwydian hills.
Situated off Chester Road, the site is currently used as open pasture, and sits next to the existing Barnston Monument. The landowner is proposing access via Chester Road with parking for 29 vehicles.
According to the site’s designer Land Studio, the burial ground is intended to be a “natural” one; this means caskets made of natural materials are placed in shallower graves, with no formal markers usually present. The designer added: “A woodland or meadow setting for natural burial grounds makes them intrinsically peaceful and beautiful places to visit. They change with the seasons and over time and support a variety of flora.”
Planning permission was first granted for a burial ground on the site in 2013, with support from the local parish council, but this has been allowed to lapse; according to planner Fisher German, “the purported need [for a burial ground] turned out not to be quite as pressing as originally envisaged”.
The revived application has the support of the parish council, which has written to back the scheme, arguing there is still local demand for the burial ground.
The land is classed as “Grade Two” agricultural land, meaning it is “the best and most versatile”, but is currently not farmed.
Submitting the scheme to Cheshire West & Chester Council, Fisher German said: “Natural burial grounds are becoming more widespread because they are a very sustainable form of burial and can greatly enhance the character and quality of the local environments if well designed.
“The design of the proposed scheme has been given very careful consideration to ensure it is respectful to the surrounding landscape.
“The proposal can be developed with only a minor adverse impact on the landscape owing to the erection of the wooden pavilion structure, and the loss of a small area of best and most versatile agricultural land, albeit land which is not actively farmed and has not been for some considerable time.
“These minor negative impacts are outweighed by the provision of an essential community facility which is supported by the parish council.”