Planned expansion of woodland burial site criticised

GreenAcres' Heatherley Wood woodland burial site is located in Grayshott Road, mid way between Headley and Grayshott ()

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PLANS to expand a natural burial site between Grayshott and Headley have been criticised by parish councillors.

GreenAcres Group has applied for planning permission to build a “small service team lodge” and refurbish the main hall at its Heatherley Wood Natural Burial Site in Grayshott Road.

The company says the changes are needed to “accommodate a greater number of mourners at one time”.

And it adds the need for alterations has only been heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic, with more space needed to allow for social-distancing measures between staff and visitors.

Speaking on behalf of GreenAcres, Jane Kirkup said: “Covid-19 has hit families hard.

“They have been unable to sit with dying relatives at hospital, faced restricted goodbyes and all the while have been required to do this at a social distance, which has of course been necessary for people’s safety.

“But these restrictions have compounded people’s grief. We wanted to create more space to accommodate people in a safe environment.

“We work in a field that people rarely want to talk about, yet provide services people need and are more in touch with because of the current climate.”

However, Headley Parish Council has objected on the grounds the proposal “constitutes a piecemeal layout of buildings within the site and not in keeping with the design and ethics of the existing principal building and surrounding area and it detracts from the overall appearance of the site”.

But in response, Mrs Kirkup said: “The additional building will be discrete. It will not be visible from the road and will be aesthetically pleasing and in keeping with the natural style of the GreenAcres Heatherley Wood Park.”

To view the proposal and comment before July 23, search for ‘52600/004’ at planningpublicaccess.easthants.gov.uk

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