LIBERAL Democrats in Redditch are calling on the council's planning committee to reject a plan for a new cemetery on land off Ipsley Church Lane.

The proposal, made by Redditch Borough Council, has received well over 650 objections on their planning website.

Some residents say the change of use would be a loss to the Ipsley community, as the land is used for recreational purposes. Others are fearful of the impact on wildlife and feel the land should be left untouched. The earmarked site is on open fields, which is bordered by Icknield Street Drive and opposite Matchborough west.

The plan highlights that “space for burial is diminishing in the borough” and the cemetery could provide enough land for between 60 and 70 years of use.

Now, Liberal Democrats have called on the council to rethink the burial site plan.

Mark Tomes, Liberal Democrat candidate for Arrow Valley East and Church Hill said: “When the proposals were first mooted, I and my colleagues were somewhat ambivalent to them - we accepted that new burial provision was needed for the town.

"However, when we visited the site it became immediately clear that Ipsley Meadow was the wrong site for a cemetery.

"The parkland is beautiful and a haven for wildlife and this must be protected.

"It is used by local people for exercise, to meet friends and family and to walk their dogs. It is also extremely prone to waterlogging – if you visited the meadow during the recent bad weather you will have seen lots of surface water.

“I have been working with a number of independent local campaigners who, like me, are concerned about the precedent that will be set by allowing our town’s parkland and green spaces to be taken for other uses and we are asking residents of Redditch to join with over 650 others in lodging a formal objection to the plans on the Council’s planning portal.

“We urge the council to look at alternatives, including the land adjacent to the current cemetery and crematorium so that our valuable public open space is protected for present and future generations to enjoy”.

Independent local campaigner Steve Williams said: "If this application is successful, then any claims that the council have, to be green, environmentally aware and fully cognisant of the importance of green spaces for the leisure and well-being of its residents, fly straight out of the window and become a hollow mockery.”

Another campaigner, Joni Lovell, said: "I firmly believe that the natural meadow and scrub areas should be kept for unrestricted public access, with the wildlife to be enjoyed by the living now and for generations to come."

A Redditch Borough Council spokesperson said: “The application will be considered at a future meeting of the planning committee.”