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Site ‘earmarked’ for new Borough cemetery

By Connor Steel / Photograph by HistoricGosport

PLANS for a third cemetery within the Gosport borough gathered pace this week following an announcement by council officials.

They are likely to result in another burial area set aside at Grange Lane under the Local Plan 2011-2029 outlined to redevelop key areas of the town.

Grange Lane is located between Rowner Lane and St Nicholas Avenue, with a site earmarked to be developed and a reappointment of Cemetery Development Services (CDS) apparently confirmed, according to reports in Hampshire Live and Portsmouth News this week. The idea was first outlined in 2019 but had been delayed due to a switch of focus during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Costing over £100,000 including maintenance fees and works, the project would only start after surveys and reports have been completed in a 24-week process taking until early spring 2022. Once complete, a series of public consultations involving key stakeholders will take place as part of the formal planning phase next summer.

Should the recommendation for the cemetery at Grange Lane be validated, the proposed graveyard would have space for burials for a potential of 175 years. It comes as concerns were raised about Anns Hill Cemetery and its capacity, which some fear would run out in 2024 if death figures remain the same, bringing an end to the main burial site in Gosport since its 1885 opening.

Anns Hill Cermetery now has thousands of plots dating back to Victorian times, with two extensions in the early 1900s that include the ‘new’ side. Alongside many family members and local residents are hundreds of British and German conflict casualties, with the War Graves Commission continuing to look after these places of rest. A memorial stone is further located in the entrance, while the site remains well visited by families and friends.

There are many smaller graveyards associated with churches in Gosport, including Holy Trinity and Elson. These will remain unchanged under the local plan, with access available throughout the week and closures at night to protect graves following vandals hitting Anns Hill Cemetery back in March/April this year.

Located between Forton and Foster Roads, Anns Hill joins another graveyard in Gosport that features over 1,000 war graves. Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery has a total of 772 First World War memorials, while 611 Second World War plots, including 36 unidentified bodies, can be found on the site. But although there is space inside this graveyard, it has been dedicated to those lost in wartime or Naval incidents such as the officers and men of HM Submarine ‘L.55’ whose bodies were brought back from the Baltic in 1928.

More information on Gosport Borough Council’s Local Plan can be seen via this link, while detailed informationabout the cemetery plans can be read on page 165 of the top attachment. It should be said that this policy was written in 2015 and although relatively unchanged over the last six years, some information and detail may be outdated or need clarification from councillors.