Alnwick Town Council round-up: Natural burials, neighbourhood plan and Narrowgate

Alnwick Cemetery.
Alnwick Cemetery.

Residents of Alnwick can now opt for a natural burial in a specially-designated area of the cemetery, which is run by the town council.

At last Thursday night’s meeting, members agreed a proposal drawn up by the cemetery committee to charge the price of a double burial plus the cost of the stones, which is yet to be confirmed, following a number of requests for natural burials.

The reason for charging the price of a double-depth plot is that the practice only allows for single-depth burials, meaning that it essentially takes up the same space as a double-depth burial elsewhere in the cemetery.

A natural burial is one in which all of the materials involved are natural, for example, the coffin – if used at all as some people are buried in shrouds – has to be untreated wood with no metal or other materials attached to it.

Every plot will have the same natural stone and they will lie flat rather than standing up like headstones.

The only other limitation is that you cannot select a particular plot; the natural-burial area will be filled up from the far corner.

Eventually, the area will be left to go ‘back to nature’ as a wildflower meadow.

• Residents of Alnwick and Denwick won’t be going to the polls to have their say on the neighbourhood plan until September, due to the final adjustments to the key document.

At the April meeting, members heard that the independent examiner had recommended deleting 21 policies, as well as other changes to wording, etc, from the plan.

Last week, the clerk informed councillors that the county council had largely agreed with the examiner, but there were still further discussions to come on certain issues which are important to the community to avoid a ‘watering-down’ of the policies.

Regardless of the outcome of that, the submission draft will have to be amended before going back to the county council, meaning the referendum date has slipped.

The deadline for the housing needs survey, which is being carried out by the town council and Northumberland County Council as part of the neighbourhood plan process, has been extended until Monday, June 20. All residents should have received the survey in the post.

• County councillor Gordon Castle offered reassurances that proposals for making Narrowgate more pedestrian-friendly have not fallen by the wayside. He told members that the county council’s team is carrying out design work. On a related note, he said that the county council is also working on a policy for street furniture.