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Lack of Village Burial Facilities

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Freda Dorrell being interviewed
Haddenham Residents filmed by BBC South
Haddenham resident interviewed by BBC South
David Truesdale interviewed by BBC South
Rev Margot Hodson interviewed by BBC South

The churchyard at St Mary's has been used for burials for many generations, but has now run out of space and was closed for new burials in February 2017 — see here.

It is hoped that the Glebe land on Aston Road will eventually provide new burial facilities. However the land is part of a large scale building programme being conducted by the developers Dandara, eventually giving rise to some 280 new homes, and it appears that the provision of a new burial ground will occur late in the overall project schedule.

Some long-term residents of Haddenham are understandably concerned that there will be no village burial facilities for four or five years — possibly longer. In the meantime, the wishes of any Haddenham resident who had anticipated being laid to rest in the village cannot be met.

Haddenham resident Freda Dorrell and a number of equally concerned friends and neighbours decided to raise their disquiet with the local media, and on Wednesday 28th June Freda was interviewed by a news team from BBC South.

While they were in the village, the BBC news gatherers also took the opportunity to gain a wider perspective by recording interviews with residents John Carter and Michael Whitney as well as with David Truesdale — Chairman of Haddenham Parish Council — and Rev Margot Hodson — Rector of the Wychert Vale Benefice of which Haddenham is part.

Residents had hoped that pressure could be brought to bear on Dandara, and that the land potentially identified for a new burial ground could be prepared and brought into service by the developer much sooner.

However, David Truesdale was at pains to point out that various tests needed to be conducted first to ensure that the land is actually suitable for use as a burial ground — in particular, that the water table remains at sufficient depth irrespective of seasonal changes. In addition, he believed it likely that Dandara would need to recoup their substantial investment in developing the Aston Road site by focusing on the building and selling of new homes before they would be able to finalise the community development elements of the project.

The TV news report was broadcast on BBC South Today on Thursday evening 29th June. Freda Dorrell was also interviewed live on BBC Radio Oxford earlier on the same day, and then on Friday morning, 30th June, she popped up again on BBC 3 Counties Radio.

The BBC South Today broadcast can be viewed here.

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