Cannock Chase Council has officially opened the new cemetery for the residents of the District.
The cemetery on Hednesford Road in Heath Hayes is over 19 hectares; of which 5 hectares has been laid out for future burials. The site will provide over 5,000 burials at capacity, which is estimated to last 125 years.
Phase 1 of the site development has now been completed and the first 1,000 burial plots are available to enable the council to operate and run the cemetery for the first 25 years. The first burials will take place this week.
Councillor Adrienne Fitzgerald, Portfolio Leader for Housing, Heritage and Leisure said “I have had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful site today. I enjoyed hearing about how the site has been developed and designed environmentally. An enormous amount of planning has gone into it, with ponds created for springs to drain into it. The building built with natural wood compliments the nearby crematorium ran by Horizon Cremation Limited. The site is really peaceful and a real asset for our community.”
The provision of burial space within Cannock Chase District has been limited for several years, with Stile Cop cemetery in Rugeley having the only new burial space within the District. The need was identified for long term burial provision within the southern half of the District in 2006. Investigative work started and over 15 sites (private and Council) were considered, with 6 sites having detailed geophysical surveys undertaken.
The site on Hednesford Road, was originally low-grade agricultural land and housed the Bleak House Mining Companies Office in the 1980s.
The development of the cemetery will help to restore the site to predominantly open space, heathland, shelterbelts and nature conservation areas, thereby enhancing the landscape and managing it for the benefit of the wider community.
The biodiversity has also been enhanced by the planting of over 100 linear meters of new hedgerows and establishing 1.2 hectares of new woodlands (9,000 native trees and shrubs) whilst also providing in excess of 100 individual standard native trees as well as including wetlands, reed beds and a pond, as the site nestles close to the Chasewater Bog SSSI. The trees planted have been funded by the Forest of Mercia.
The site includes car parking as well as an office building and toilets for mourners and staff.
The main building, highway improvements and hard landscaping works, began in early 2020. The soft landscaping has recently been completed, with the cemetery grass still establishing itself. Due to the demand for internments the Council has taken the decision to open the cemetery and is allowing families to visit the site to enable them to make an informed decision before booking.
The site will be open between 9.00 am and 7.30 pm for people who are interested in visiting it. No appointment is necessary. If you have any questions please contact Sarah Hammond, Bereavement Services Manager on 01543 464475.