‘Why are we still waiting?’ is the question West Lancashire MP, Rosie Cooper is asking of Conservative-controlled West Lancashire District Council.
There are three identified sites on which a cemetery could be located. These sites include Pippin Street that received planning permission in 1999, land at Spa Lane where the council are in negotiations with a local landowner and now a third site in the White Moss Area.
This was one of the issues Rosie saw as a priority when she was elected in 2005. In order to get a solution she has worked with local people to identify sites, with the All Party parliamentary group to identify providers of crematorium and cemetery facilities, with Cherie Blair Q.C.and solicitor Robin Makin to identify ways to force this council to live up to their responsibilities, lobbied Ministers and held an adjournment debate (28/06/07) on this issue and run numerous press and TV stories.
“I cannot understand why the people of West Lancashire are still waiting for this District Council to deliver a new cemetery. If I hadn’t campaigned on this issue then they would have continued to ignore this sensitive issue, but they now have alternatives …. It’s time to make a decision.”
“Until we get a new cemetery, local tax paying families are being forced to pay an additional levy of up to £1000 in some cases when they suffer a bereavement in the family. We cannot accept this inaction when local families are the ones who have to carry the cost. It would appear that the council couldn’t care less!
“As there is likely to be little or no cost to the Council I want to know why this Conservative-controlled authority have not agreed to a new cemetery. It seems they can find £600,000 towards a new town hall without a flinch, while the Council taxpayers continue to pay inflated rates to neighbouring authorities to bury their loved ones. I think the Council need to review it’s priorities, and could start by putting the interests of people of West Lancashire first.”
In the last two years I have heard really emotional stories of people having to bury their loved ones miles away at extra cost, not being able to visit the graves because of transport difficulties and been shown the urns containing loved ones ashes kept in the sideboards in homes because there isn’t even a garden of remembrance. I have also worked with ‘Life for Life’ to get trees planted in memory of loved ones….That has even disappeared into the black hole that is WLDC who are still considering that as well.
All of this was recently brought directly home to me when Cllr Sally Keegan died. Her requiem mass was held at St Richards but her family was forced to bury Sally, a Skelmersdale Councillor in St Helens. Not even this act shamed WLDC into doing anything about announcing a new cemetery.
“I am calling on West Lancashire District Council to do the right thing now!”