An area of land on the border of Fleetwood and Thornton could be radically changed as Wyre’s cabinet considers a motion for possible housing development there.
Bourne Hill, off Fleetwood Road, has long been a buffer between the two towns and part of it has even been the site of an archaeological dig by historians looking for relics of an Iron Age or Roman settlement.
But Wyre Council is looking to bring about an ‘appropriation of the site’ from its current purpose, as a cemetery burial ground or crematorium, to a new use for planning purposes and possible housing development.
The issue is set to be looked at on Wednesday when councillors meet to discuss treasury management policy.
Wyre Council owns the land but any alteration of its use would have to be undertaken by ‘appropriation’ under a section the Local Government Act 1972, because a covenant was placed on the land decreeing it should be used for no other purpose than as a burial ground.
An officer’s report states: “The appropriation of the land for planning purposes will enable the council to deliver a suitable site for development in line with the Local Plan and to continue the economic growth in Thornton and Fleetwood,
“The cabinet will have to confirm that the land currently held for use as a cemetery, burial ground or crematorium is no longer required for those purposes.”
The land was acquired by the council by way of a conveyance dated December 7 1936, made between Fleetwood Estate Limited, W
Deacons Bank Limited and Thornton Cleveleys Urban District Council.
Wyre Council did not exist before 1974 but in that year it succeeded the borough’s smaller councils, such as Thornton Cleveleys and Fleetwood, and took over many of their roles and powers.
Since 1936, the site has never been used as cemetery, burial ground or crematorium.
Cemetery capacity in Wyre, based on current burial rates, indicates that Fleetwood Cemetery, on Beach Road, will provide a further 10.4 years’ burial capacity, Poulton a further 27.2 years and Preesall 16.7 years.
Although there is no statutory requirement for the council to provide burial space, the authority notes that its provision already exceeds the Government’s guidance on available grave space for 10 years.