Whitby Cemetery: Search which 'has been extensive and exhaustive' goes on for new site

Future cemetery provision in Whitby will require the development of a new site, a report has revealed.

By Duncan Atkins
Friday, 20th May 2022, 10:48 am
Updated Friday, 20th May 2022, 10:51 am

Scarborough Council estimates that Whitby's Larpool Cemetery will have reached capacity in the next three years and in October last year, began the hunt to secure new cemetery provision, not just in Whitby, but at sites in Scarborough and Filey too.

But the search for a suitable Whitby site has hit a brick wall.

A green space sandwiched between Larpool and Larpool Drive in Whitby was identified, but out of the 111 people who responded to the council's consultation, only 37.3% were in favour of the site being developed into cemetery provision.

The field off Larpool Drive in Whitby which was a possible site for Whitby cemetery provision.

A further 6.4 % of consultees were neither in agreement or disagreement and 56.4% of consultees disagreed with it.

A report to the council's Lives and Homes Overview and Scrutiny Committee said the main reasons given against the site were loss of green/recreational space, poor access / safety of roads and footpaths or not on a bus route.

Sport England were also not in favour of the Larpool site, stating they could only support the site for cemetery use if the council could demonstrate that the green space was surplus to requirements for all pitch sports and not just football.

The council’s Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS), which it approved last September, states that "the (adult) football pitch at Larpool Lane has not been factored into the calculations owing to its significant limitations - lack of changing, sloping site, single pitch only - and is not considered a sustainable option for future pitch provision.

"Therefore, it can be considered for disposal.”

Consultees were also asked to propose alternative locations to be considered for future cemetery use in Whitby.

Most people who were consulted - 30 - recommended land near Whitby Golf Club.

However, that is not an option at this time as land which forms part of the golf club, from Sandsend Road to the north, Love Lane to the east and Highfield Road to the south, is ringfenced as part of the council's Better Homes Joint Venture.

Eight consultees suggested the Broomfield site near Yorkshire Water's waste treatment works; two others recommended the fields beyond Eskdale School but these options have been discounted by the council.

Another two suggested land near to or the back of Whitby's Captain Cook Crescent.

In a report to the council's Lives and Homes Overview and Scrutiny Committee today, Director Paul Thompson said: "To date, the trawl for suitable Whitby sites has been extensive and exhaustive, both through table top mapping exercises and discussions with landowners and partners.

"It is the view of officers and the experienced consultancy team supporting this project that it is very unlikely that any other suitable site exists in Whitby for the provision of future cemetery space.

"Given the concerns highlighted by consultees regarding the Larpool site, our consultants are undertaking further investigations of the site and having dialogue with stakeholders such as NYCC and the Environment Agency, to try to address these concerns.

"Discussions with NYCC’s Estates department revealed that they have no land available in Whitby that could be considered by cemetery use.

"However, if any further locations are suggested, these will be assessed for their suitability."

There is a budget of £400,000 assigned to the borough's provision of cemeteries project.

Mr Thompson recommended that priority should be given to securing future cemetery provision in Whitby and Scarborough.

Options are also being explored as to how the council will recoup the additional costs of delivering this £1.1m project over the long term.

In comparison to Whitby, there was overwhelming support for the potential sites in Filey and Scarborough with overall agreement of 100% and 93.3%, respectively.