Natural burial cemetery allowed in green belt

An inspector has found very special circumstances to justify allowing a green burial cemetery in the West Midlands green belt.

Finding the change of use of the field site to be inappropriate development, the inspector did not find any other harm to the green belt. The physical manifestations of the use would be limited and have no discernible effect on openness; the graves would not be marked, the vehicle access track would be short and a small car park finished in grasscrete tucked into a corner.  With only ten burials per year, activity in the site would be occasional, transitory and limited, and barely noticeable in the context of the wider rural area. Given the lack of urbanisation or disturbance to rural peace and tranquility from the proposal, the inspector also decided there would be no encroachment into the countryside to conflict with green belt purposes.

Attaching heavy weight to the current lack of any natural burial sites within the borough, and additional weight to the highway safety benefits to all road users from off-site works, and the ecology benefits of indigenous tree planting and landscaping, the inspector concluded these matters amounted to very special circumstances to justify inappropriate development.

Inspector: Gary Deane; Written representations

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