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Home   Gravesend   News   Article

New crematorium and cemetery for Gravesham near St Mary the Virgin Church, Chalk is likely to be approved

05 December 2013
by Thom Morris
An artist's impression of the new crematorium

An artist's impression of the new crematorium


The 27-acre site, about the size of 15 football pitches, would be run by Co-operative Funeral Care and located next to St Mary the Virgin Church in Rochester Road, Chalk.

It would include a crematorium, cemetery, two chapels and woodland burial ground. There would also be a main car park of 58 spaces closest to crematorium and a further 48 spaces on a gravel surface.

Concerns have been raised about the proposal by the Dickens Country Protection Society because of “slow moving funeral corteges” and the development “obscuring the view of St Mary’s church”.

Shorne and Higham Parish Council has also raised objections along the same lines.

Some residents also objected with concerns including “why should ‘town folk’ be buried in a village location?”

Gravesham council says there is a need for new burial space. It believes it has just 11 years before Gravesend and Northfleet cemeteries are full.

The report before councillors states: “It has been adequately demonstrated that no suitable alternative site exists outside of the Green Belt.

“Whilst there would be a loss of openness as a result of the change of use of the land and the associated built development, this is likely to be limited in impact to the extent that these very special circumstances outweigh the inappropriateness and harm caused.”

The nearest crematorium is 12 miles away at Blue Bell Hill, near Chatham, with another 15 miles away in Eltham and one 17 miles away in Maidstone.

The council report adds: “Despite the majority of funerals in the borough taking place by cremation, in part due to the religious beliefs of the large local Sikh population that only allows for cremation, there is currently no crematorium in the borough.”

St Mary the Virgin Church, Chalk

St Mary the Virgin Church, Chalk

Gravesham has two main burial grounds – Gravesend Cemetery in Old Road West and Northfleet Cemetery in Springhead Road. Rural cemeteries include Southfleet, Higham, Ifield, Luddesdown and Meopham.

The area close to Chalk church has also been identified as one of the three options for the lower Thames crossing. A decision on that is expected soon.

The Regulatory Board meeting takes place at the Civic Centre on Thursday at 7pm.

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