Plan to turn grave yard into a garden

NDET 17-7-12 BWJ 9 Middle Handley Churchyard
NDET 17-7-12 BWJ 9 Middle Handley Churchyard

A church has been branded “insensitive” for planning to turn a graveyard into a garden.

The disused St John Church at Middle Handley is set to be converted in to a modern luxury house and some of the cemetery surrounding the church will be turned in to gardens.

Anne Todd, whose family are buried in the churchyard, said the plans would disrupt her relatives’ graves and felt the building was not appropriate for conversion.

She added: “I feel my opinions are of no consequence compared to a building firm who will pay a lot of money to the church to convert the place where our families lie, into a private house.

“I’m sure my families grave will be disturbed because it’s close to the church wall. It is very insensitive.”

“It seems very odd to me. It’ll be like a scene out of poltergeist with children playing in the garden,” she said.

The church was officially closed in 2007 and work to convert the Victorian building in to a home is set to start soon.

Rev Ian Price, pastoral secretary of the Diocese of Derby, said attendance at the church had dwindled and there was insufficient support to keep it open.

He accepted the graves were close to the building and any maintenance to the wall needed to be carried out with care.

He added the scheme put forward was the best use of the building.

A spokesman for the Church of England Communications Office said they recognised that families with relatives buried in the churchyard would be disappointed by the plans but access would continue on the same basis as at present.