New Site Being Considered for Houghton Full Body Burials

  • Burial space in Houghton Regis was finally exhausted about two months ago. Anyone who lives in the town and now wants a whole-body burial has to go outside of the town. Councillors are to have a feasibility study done into a new site near the Household Waste and Recycling Centre. 

The Town Council now only offer internment places on a plot of land at their Cemetery Road site. So where are Houghtonians to have full-body burials in the future?

The Town Council have been meeting for years to try to find a solution

A site at Orchard Close was once considered. Part of the recreation ground there was to have been used, leaving a substantial amount of space left over for recreation. A campaign group was formed to oppose that, and then it transpired that there was a covenant on that land which meant it could not be used for that purpose. Elections were held in 2015 and the new council withdrew the site in 2015. In 2019 land at Dog Kennel Down was considered.

Despite housing development going on all around Houghton Regis, no development proposals ever came forward from land-owners for a cemetery. One of the biggest problems has been the low level of the water table, a reason for why a site off Windsor Drive was rejected.

On the 16th November 2020, Houghton Regis Town Council met to discuss the latest way forward. Watch the video. (Suggested listening speed of normal, can be adjusted using the settings on YouTube)

Councillors are now to consider land at Grendall Lane, a site south of the Houghton Regis Chalk Pit as outlined in red below. This is at 'Angels', the end of the road that the Tidy Tip is on. This land is owned by Central Bedfordshire Council assets. If the site is to be used, the Town Council will need to put in a planning application, and at that point, other agencies such as The Environment Agency and Anglia Water would be able to comment on the proposals.

To support this suggestion, which was not unanimously supported, the Town Council's New Cemetery Sub-Committee met on 16th November 2020 and voted 3-1 in favour of :
1. To commission T2 Groundwater Risk Assessment for Land at the end of Grendall Lane and, provided this is supportive, to proceed with the monitoring work and an updated T3 report;
2. To fund the investigations from EMR 348, Cemetery provision 

Editorial footnotes
  • The proposed site is west of the water treatment works. When land at the east side of the water treatment works was disturbed, this was the result: 

  • Further towards Bedford Road, this was the arable farmland being excavated to make way for houses and new roads.

  • The site is in fairly close proximity to the Ouzel Brook. EA regulations now regulate for stricter control to protect groundwater, especially to protect drinking water, particularly in areas where Chalk bedrock is encountered. If there were more than 30 burials a year at the site a risk assessment would be required to be allowed to operate.

  • As the water exits the water treatment site nextdoor to this site, the water is in the very best condition and it has a final water sampling point. It is so clean that freshwater clams find their way upstream to it, as witnessed a few years ago when some excavation works were done on the Brook, prior to Highways depot building works. So the chances of a burial site causing damage to that will be high unless mitigated for.

  • When considering a site in 2019 at Dog Kennel Down,  on 23 April 2019, councillors were advised by consultants that  “all of the sites are situated on the same geological sequence and therefore carries similar risks with regards to groundwater contamination from cemeteries. If a sufficient thickness of head soils was encountered on site, the risk may be reduced."