North-east residents upset by their inability to bury loved-ones in their home town have been told a new cemetery is to be created.
Lack of burial space is a nationwide problem with numerous communities, including Turriff, feeling the effects.
The town’s existing cemetery is close to capacity and in recent years people have been unable to purchase burial ground until someone has died.
But yesterday, plans for a new site with 1,504 casket lairs and 2,734 lairs in total were approved by members of the Formartine Area Committee.
It is hoped this will mean locals can continue to be buried in their home town for many years to come.
Cameron McGillivray, owner of the Turriff-based Norman Will Funeral Directors, believes a new cemetery has long been needed.
He said: “For a while now you have only been able to buy a lair when you have have had need for it.
“A second cemetery will be a big help as there’s going to come a point where there will me no more lairs to purchase and the nearest cemetery would then be Cuminestown.
“People born and bred in Turriff want to be buried in Turriff, not in Cuminestown and not somewhere else.
“It really is something that should have happened a long time ago but it’s good news for us and for the town that there could soon be a new one.”
Aberdeenshire Council had put forward a planning application for a 1.88 hectare site at Market Hill. It will include 60 parking spaces.
Planning officers recommended that the plans be granted as only one objection relating to current drainage pipes had been received and mitigating measures were to be put in place to ensure these will not be impacted.
At the committee meeting yesterday, Councillor Anne Stirling queried the size of the passing places along the access road – currently just a track used by agricultural vehicles – and the traffic impact on the junction from Meadowbank Road.
Planning and roads officers assured members that the passing places would be 20 metres in length and wide enough for agricultural loads to pass funeral traffic safely.
Making a motion to approve the plans, with additional conditions, Mrs Stirling said: “With the assurances of appropriate passing places, with traffic monitoring at the junction and some robust certainty that garden species to be used in the landscaping will be native, I’m happy to support this application.”
Sandy Duncan seconded the motion, adding: “I was worried about the time it was taking to get this to this stage as the present cemetery is filling up at a hell of a speed.”
The committee approved the plan unanimously.