THE hunt is on to find a site for a new cemetery in Gosport, as the only one in town nears full capacity.
Gosport Borough Council says it is looking to find a new cemetery site in the town – and the clock is ticking to get it ready for use.
Ann’s Hill Cemetery has three to four years worth of spaces left so the council must look to find a new site for the town.
Deputy council leader and chairman of the council’s community board, Councillor Graham Burgess, says that the process for this is already underway.
He explained: ‘Ann’s Hill is the only public cemetery in Gosport – some of the churches have cemeteries but there’s only a set amount of space left in the town.
‘There is about four years of space left at the most, so we are actively looking for a new site.’
Cllr Burgess says that the site must meet strict criteria to be considered – but that the council has a couple of places in mind.
He said: ‘It almost goes without saying that it has to be a big space – although there are a lot more cremations nowadays, many people do still prefer to be buried.
‘It can’t have too high a water table because that would cause problems when you go to dig the graves. The ground condition as a whole has to be suitable for a cemetery.
‘It needs to be an accessible site and we would need space to build a chapel for the mourners too.
‘There are a couple of of sites that we have in mind – but I can’t say where those are just yet.’
It is hoped that the council will be able to get the new cemetery up and running long before Ann’s Hill reaches full capacity.
A cross-party group has already been set up to work on the new site.
Cllr Burgess explained: ‘At the last meeting of the community board we set a task group up, with a meeting due to take place very soon.
‘The process itself is very simple – we identify the site, get planning permission and sort out funding for things like landscaping and so on, and then we get started with building it for the people of Gosport.
‘Wherever it ends up, we hope to have the cemetery open for business in the next few years.’