More space may be needed in village cemetery as burials increase

Askrigg Cemetery

By Betsy Everett

After years of worry that the cemetery in Askrigg was not being used sufficiently as cremations became more popular, burials are back in fashion, the parish council has been told.

Now, Askrigg and Low Abbotside parish council may have to consider extending the cemetery to cope with the increased demand.

“The problem for years was that the cemetery wasn’t being used because so many people were being cremated but now there are more burials than ever,” Cllr Allen Kirkbride told members at their recent meeting.

Richmondshire district councillor, Yvonne Peacock, said they were experiencing a similar trend in Bainbridge, where plans were also in hand to extend the burial area. “We are getting really short of space now, and we are planning ahead” she said.

Meanwhile, members were told that overgrown trees on the roadside near Beck Bits and Thwaiteholme Lane needed “tidying” up, but Cllr Kirkbride warned that care must be taken: not only was it bird-nesting time, but it was a conservation area “and you can’t afford to ignore that.” He said he would get a price for dong the work, but would first ask the national park’s conservation officer to visit the area with him.

A long- damaged wall at Nappa had still not been repaired despite the parish clerk, Karen Lynch, contacting the highways department several times. Now, said chairman Bruce Fawcett, it was getting “very, very dangerous” and needed something more substantial than plastic barriers. Meanwhile drains were blocked at Helm and at Brecon Bar, causing flooding, and both needed clearing. Mrs Lynch would contact the highways department again.

St Oswald’s church tower must be rendered – or fall down.

MaryRose Kearney of St Oswald’s Church had written to request that the church fabric might become a standing item on the council’s agenda, to keep members and the community informed. At the last meeting, the council had been told that around £200,000 needed to be spent on the tower to stop it falling down. Cllr Kirkbride said that over the centuries the parish council had always taken a keen interest in the church, which was a Grade 1 listed building.  Cllr Fawcett described the church [nationally] as “a really annoying outfit. They need to raise all this money [locally] yet the Church of England are the biggest landowners in the country,” he said. However, the council agreed to make it a standing item, and also to pay a contribution of £40 towards the church floodlights during the year. 

Planning permission had been granted for the conversion of the Foundation’s property in Market Place to affordable homes, and refurbishment of the shop and an office. The Foundation’s annual meeting the previous day had heard that the £150,000 community-led housing grant, which they were depending on, would come before a committee of the district council in April.
Archiving of decades of ledgers and documents which were being cleared from the building before work started was underway under the guidance of local historian, Dr Christine Hallas. It was hoped that storage space could be found under the village hall.

School governor Martin Garside said a safety officer had visited Askrigg primary school and agreed to the measures proposed for making the perimeter safe through a combination of railings along the front, a high green mesh fence on the east side, and reinforced hedging on the west near the tennis courts. A grant would be available from the Woodland Trust towards restocking the hedge. Damage to three poles when a car went through the fence recently had now been repaired, said Mr Garside.

A resident who was closely monitoring the problem of thoughtless dog owners said she had picked up 66 bags of dog faeces in a field in the village over several days. Cllr Kirkbride said there was a misapprehension that once owners took a dog into a field “cleaning up after it didn’t matter.” It did, he said, as it spread disease and was a danger to livestock. Another resident said she believed the problem was partly due to feeding dogs manufactured, dried food. A natural raw meat diet would reduce waste considerably.

The next meeting of the parish council will be on Thursday, 16 May, at 7.30pm