Plans for new parking bays at Sheffield General Cemetery come under fire again

Campaigners have once again demanded answers as to why parking spaces are being created in Sheffield’s General Cemetery.

By The Star Newsroom
Thursday, 18 April, 2019, 11:15
Campaigner Jim Dimond

Sheffield Council is installing a three-bay car park within the Sharrow site. The number of parking bays was reduced from 13 to three after more than 900 people signed two petitions.

Campaigners say the car park would ruin the historic site and be disrespectful. The council says it needs to make the place accessible to everyone, particularly disabled and elderly people who need to drive.

The council has received a £3 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out major restoration work, conserve the cemetery’s history and improve facilities and access.

Jim Dimond, of the Save our Green Open Spaces campaign group, asked councillors why they were so determined to build a car park.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, he said: “I am asking in frustration because up until now the answers we have had are contradictory and plainly untrue. This has been confirmed by Freedom of Information requests that have been sent in as a follow up to our previous questions.

“The question is important because your answer goes to the very heart of the Heritage Lottery Fund criteria of preserve, conserve and protect. Cabinet will be aware that the money can be clawed back by the HLF if the grant is spent inappropriately.

“What is the real reason why the council is so determined to build a car park within the grounds of Sheffield General Cemetery?

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“Given the lack of an equality impact assessment and no genuine consultation to date, will councillors come and speak at a public event in the cemetery on April 27?”

Cabinet member Mary Lea said it would be a “really tremendous project” for Sheffield and the General Cemetery.

“I am aware of the plans from the Friends Group to refurbish the site from many years ago so I am really pleased this lottery money will fulfil their dreams and ambitions for this historic site.

“But to do that we need to make it accessible for everybody in Sheffield. That is one of the reasons the car park is there, to make it accessible to all the groups in Sheffield.

“The General Cemetery is really interesting, with a fantastic chapel, but it’s also a park for people in that area and a great thing to celebrate.

“We need to ensure everybody, including disabled and older people, have access to enjoy a fantastic restoration and the community cohesion that will go with it.”