Fisher German has achieved planning permission to turn an arable field at a family-run Castle View Farm, in Bottesford, into a natural burial ground, providing a peaceful environment for remembrance at a site filled with wildflowers and views of the countryside. The burial ground will include a wildflower meadow and provide a sustainable alternative to conventional burial and cremation options.
Individual graves will not have traditional headstones but will be marked by discrete plaques within the wildflower meadow, and other infrastructure will include a grid reinforced car park with grass growing through, benches, a shelter, fencing, hedgerows and trees.
We acted on behalf of Castle View Farm, which is run by James Goodson and his wife Clair with support from their two children Emily and George. Associate Scott O’Dell worked with the family to secure planning permission from Melton Borough Council. He said: “Providing a good understanding of the natural burial concept and how this delivers planning benefits as a diversification scheme in a rural area was an integral part of the planning process.
The surrounding views of the area featuring the Vale of Belvoir, Belvoir Castle and St Mary’s Church spire alongside the site’s location on Beacon Hill means it is a very sentimental location to the local community, so any proposed development needed to enhance the landscape.
“It is one of the more unusual methods of diversification, so we worked closely with both the ward councillor and Bottesford Parish Council to ensure the ethos of natural burial grounds was clear and provided reassurance in relation to any perceived impacts. The application was on the agenda at multiple Parish Council meetings and members were invited to a site visit.
“We also worked with them to shape elements of the application, responding to their comments and amending some of the boundary treatments to ensure gatherings around the Beacon could continue and also removing some of the proposed hedgerows to ensure the surrounding views were maintained. This level of engagement gave the local community an opportunity to really shape the scheme. We are extremely pleased to achieve planning permission for the site. It will be a positive facility for the area which is sensitive to the landscape and we look forward to seeing work on the site progress.”
Wildflower planting, landscaping and fencing is expected to take place later this year with the site officially opening in 2022. Once open, the site will be able to accommodate up to 100 burials per year. Emily Goodson, who studied Business and Environment at the University of Leeds, came up with the idea as a way to make use of the site while both maintaining the landscape of the area and enhancing its biodiversity.
Emily, aged 21, said: “We are very pleased to receive planning permission. The site will provide significant benefits to both the local community who will be provided with an alternative to conventional burial and cremation options as well as the ecology of the area. It will also open up what is currently a private arable field so that members of the community can appreciate views that they won’t have seen before due to them being constrained to the public footpaths or permissive access we allow.”