Campaign group calls for Sheffield General Cemetery proposals to be revised

Sheffield General Cemetery.
Sheffield General Cemetery.
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Campaigners fighting plans to build a car park at Sheffield General Cemetery have called for the proposals to be revised to prevent green space from being 'ruined'.

Jo Howden, of Cemetery Road, claimed Sheffield Council's current plans for the park breached Natural England policy as the changes to footpaths would lead to 'healthy' trees being felled unnecessarily.

Campaigners claim footpaths could be re-routed in the par.

Campaigners claim footpaths could be re-routed in the par.

Mrs Howden, a member of the newly-formed Save Our Green Open Spaces Sheffield (SOGOSS), also raised questions about a consultation the council carried out on possibly changing the name of the park in September.

"It's supposed to be a local nature reserve and what they are planning on doing removing healthy trees just to re-route footpaths," he said.

"I think the council are contravening Natural England policy because that says where you are submitting an application and an alternative is available then you should change the application."

The plans, which have been submitted for planning officers to consider, include a car park in the cemetery's grounds, conservation works on listed walls and monuments, landscape improvements, new signage and lighting.

But campaigners have vowed to fight the proposals and a petition has already been signed by more than 4,000 people.

Mrs Howden said: "The plans really need to be revised and alternatives considered because they will ruin the park.

"We want the council to revise them so that footpaths don't go through where trees currently are when an alternative could easily be found. The car park doesn't need to be in the park either - there are alternatives for that too."

Sheffield Council held a consultation on possibly changing the name of the park in September as part of the bigger plans.

Five options were put to the public - Cemetery Park; Sheffield Garden Cemetery; Gen Cem; Sheffield General Cemetery and Porter Fields; and the graveyard's existing name.

Mrs Howden said: "It's been called Sheffield General Cemetery since 1838 and the possible name change came about because some people said they didn't like the word 'cemetery' - it's ludicrous."

Lisa Firth, head of parks and countryside at Sheffield City Council said: "We carried out a consultation last year when people told us the name may deter potential visitors. Many told us that General Cemetery is already a wonderful place to enjoy a walk or visit but others were unaware there was a park for them to come and enjoy.

“Whilst feedback suggested a change of name might encourage more people to visit there is no proposal to do this.”

Coun Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure, said: "The General Cemetery is a nationally important site and is unfortunately on the Historic England at risk register. This planning application is for a project that would reverse this by protecting the important heritage of the site, being sensitive to the natural environment, whilst adding value to the local community."