PLANS for a natural burial ground on the outskirts of Laugharne have been turned down.
Applicant Michael Jones wanted to include a timber-framed reception building for memorial services, a car park for 27 cars and a memorial shelter.
The burial ground scheme was proposed at a two-hectare site a couple of hundred metres up from St Martin’s Church, on the other side of the lane.
Carmarthenshire planning officers said there was restricted visibility at the proposed access and that the application had not demonstrated how visibility splays could be provided.
They also said the burial ground would “significantly increase” traffic and pedestrian activity on the largely single-file lane leading to it.
Officers also said the proposal had not demonstrated that there wouldn’t be adverse impacts to biodiversity – either through pollution of groundwater, work required to trees and hedgerows, or construction works.
Mr Jones wanted to add more and more trees to the site, and said it would be open to the public to have a wander around.
The aim was for the reception building, which would have had a turfed roof and solar panels, to also host meetings and conferences.
And a plan would have been drawn up to cover the short-term and long-term management of the area, which is outside the Laugharne Conservation Area.
A transport statement submitted on behalf of the applicant said visibility splays could be provided at the access junction, and that mourners could use the car park in front of St Martin’s Church at packed funerals.
Several members of the public commented on the application, with some saying they didn’t oppose the natural burial site principle but did object to the reception building and the impact of the development on the narrow lane.
They were also concerned what other events could be held at the reception building.
Worried Laugharne residents included Jonathan and Sherry Owen, who said in an email to the planning authority: “A funeral hearse and a cortege of mourners meeting an oncoming vehicle, sewage truck, or maintenance vehicles, may well lead to an upsetting confrontation or dangerous situation.
“With no passing places, who backs up first, having to negotiate a sharp right‐angled bend and potentially, having to reverse into a private driveway or onto the main road?”
Laugharne Township Community Council said it had no issues with the natural burial ground aspect of the proposal, but that most councillors had concerns about the two buildings and the car park.
“They negate the concept of a natural burial site, which by definition and experience elsewhere, had no structures or grave markers,” said clerk Chris Delaney in an email to planning officers.
The email suggested that the burial site could be approved without the buildings and with a much smaller car park.
An agent on behalf of applicant Mr Jones said he was not minded to appeal the refusal decision at this stage.
Photo Credit:Robert Edwards / Wiki Commons