'I will be on the picket line objecting to it' - council supports cemeteries expansion plan despite anger over Whitby site

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Councillors have supported the proposed expansion of cemetery provisions in Scarborough, Whitby, and Filey, but anger remains over the choice of site in Whitby.

Members of Scarborough Council’s Lives and Homes Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted in favour of recommending the proposed expansion of cemetery provisions for approval in a meeting on Wednesday, November 23.

However, Whitby Town Council objected to the proposed use of land at Larpool Lane in order to maintain a cemetery with capacity in Whitby.

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Though not a member of the committee, Cllr Alf Abbott, who represents the Whitby West Cliff ward, attended the meeting to speak against the Larpool Lane cemetery plans.

The proposed Whitby cemetery site in a field off Larpool Drive.The proposed Whitby cemetery site in a field off Larpool Drive.
The proposed Whitby cemetery site in a field off Larpool Drive.

He said that children living on a nearby housing estate “will have nowhere left to play” if the plans went ahead.

Cllr Abbott also said that Whitby residents should take the issue “in their hands and decide where they want the cemetery, not where Scarborough Council wants it.”

He added: “If it’s still playing around with Larpool Lane, personally, I will be on the picket line objecting to it.”

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According to council officers, other proposed sites in Whitby were not feasible or would have been “prohibitively expensive”.

Chair of the meeting, Cllr David Jeffels said: “Perhaps, once this hits the media in Whitby, it may be that someone will come forward with an alternative site that we could consider.”

Cllr Sam Cross said: “Personally, my ashes are probably going to go off in the lifeboat and get thrown into the sea off Filey Bay, I’ll be quite happy there because it won’t matter to me.

“But for some people, it matters.

"For Whitby residents and people who were born and bred there, they want to be buried in the Whitby area and they should have their choice about where they want to be buried.”

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Scarborough Council has estimated that the current cemetery in Whitby “will have reached full capacity in the next three to four years” and concerns were raised about the progress of the expansions.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Jane Mortimer said: There are only three years left and planning will take about three years.

"So if we’re not careful, Whitby will not have a cemetery that is viable at that time for a year, maybe more.

"So after that, where do people go?”

A final decision on the sites and expansions will be decided by the new North Yorkshire Council following next year’s local government reorganisation.

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A report by the authority has warned that cemetery provisions in Scarborough, Whitby, and Filey could reach full capacity over the next few years, with estimates stating that the required expansions are likely to cost more than £3m

The planned expansion of the existing sites at Woodlands cemetery in Scarborough and Lawns cemetery in Filey have had “widespread” support.

Though other councillors were in attendance, only four members of the committee were present at the meeting on Wednesday.

Cllrs Jane Mortimer, David Jeffels, and John Casey voted in favour of the recommendations, while Cllr Sam Cross voted against.