Pressure to find further burial space in Spalding has intensified after a plan to extend the cemetery was rejected.
Estimates put remaining capacity in the Pinchbeck Road site at four years.
South Holland district councillors voted against the council’s own proposal to convert a playing field in Chiltern Drive.
That means all extension options have been exhausted – unless one of the owners of surrounding land changes their mind. A meeting of the council’s planning committee on March 18 heard that a deal with one of them fell through “at the 11th hour”.
The proposal to utilise the playing field drew opposition from Sport England and nearby residents.
A petition with 100 signatures was submitted just prior to the meeting.
Using the public speaker forum, Kim Seston told councillors that the plan was “robbing Peter to pay Paul at the expense of residents” and suggested the adoption of a cleared site off Banbury Close.
And former Pinchbeck vicar David Hill, on behalf of Spalding and District Civic Society, said the proposed extension would only be a short-term solution.
“The loss of playing field is a stop-gap solution and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever,” he said.
“There is a restrictive covenant that prevents this land being used as anything other than leisure.”
Mr Hill referred to a housing development application discussed earlier in the meeting when concerns over the amount of public open space included were raised.
“Is it one law for developers and one for the council?” he asked.
Coun Rita Rudkin noted that as well as being concerned with space (houses) for the living, members were now concerned with space for the dead too.
Coun Rodney Grocock quickly stated: “I’m in favour of the living, not the dead.
“There must be land which we can compulsorily purchase.”
Speaking after the meeting, committee chairman Coun Roger Gambba-Jones – who’s portfolio includes the cemetery and wanted to see the plan passed – said finding new burial ground was now a pressing matter.
“Conservative estimates are that we have four years’ further capacity. With some moving around, we may be able to stretch that to six to eight years, but that’s not a huge amount of time given our growing population,” he said.
“We now need to move this on to our assets team to see what can be done.”