Green belt land earmarked to meet demand for burial space in Blackpool
Blackpool's main cemetery will run out of burial space in around two years time unless action is taken.
Detailed proposals have now been revealed to extend Carleton Cemetery to provide enough land for more than 2,000 graves which would create capacity to last 20 years.
Blackpool Council has applied for planning permission to add 7.3 acres of green belt land to the south of the existing cemetery.
A planning statement accompanying the application says: "Existing full body burial provision within Blackpool relies on Carleton Cemetery, and at the current rate of burial Carleton Cemetery has two years or less of space for full body burial, and just over one year of space for cremated remains interments."
There are currently around two burials a week.
Burials can still take place at Layton Cemetery but only in existing graves which can be re-opened.
The other alternative is to use burial plots in neighbouring authorities but non-residents must pay double the usual fees for interment.
National planning rules allow green belt land to be used for cemeteries provided the open aspects of the site are preserved.
A pond on the land, which is currently used for animal grazing, will be protected.
Figures show at the time of the application there were 350 burial plots remaining at Carleton and 220 plots for cremated remains.
Nationally the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management has estimated that within the next five to 10 years 30 per cent of UK councils will have run out of burial space.
The planning document warns: "If interment space runs out in Carleton, funeral parties will use the cremation facility but then have to go out of the district for interment and memorialisation."
The extension is part of a £2m five-year plan to upgrade Carleton Crematorium which includes building a single storey extension to the building and installing three new cremators.
The investment is being funded through the council's capital programme agreed in February 2018.