PLANS have been put forward to increase the number of burials per week at a natural cemetery near Alcester.

Alne Wood Natural Burial Ground in Great Alne has applied to remove a condition of its use which restricts the number of burials per week at the site.

Currently the site is permitted to conduct a maximum of 133 burials per year and up to 12 burials per month.

When planning permission was granted to build the natural burial ground off Spernal Lane in 2014, the condition was given due to highways concerns.

The original applicant, the late Felix Dennis was for a natural burial site at Alne Wood to support the charity Heart of England Forest, who own the land.

Mr Dennis saw the burial ground as an opportunity to 'provide a reliable source of income for the charity' and 'increase rural employment'.

Planning documents note that since burials began in 2015, an average of nine burials have been carried out each year – “far below the potential of the site”.

The report says: “The absence of on-site facilities and staff is severely restricting the charity’s ability to market the burial ground.

“The restrictions on burial numbers makes it unviable to invest on the site, construct a reception building and employ staff.

“For commercial reasons, in order to make a long-term commitment to operating a burial site at Alne Wood Park, it is important that the restrictions on burial numbers are lifted.”

Nearby residents have objected to the application, saying there is a not a demonstrated need to increase the number of burials.

John Robinson of Spernal lane said that based on the site's current numbers, 'the number of potential burials are well within what has already been granted'.

However, Studley Parish Council support the application due to the “growing demand for natural burials”.