York Cemetery Trust are celebrating this week.
For many years they have been wanted to build a visitor and volunteer centre at the cemetery and finally, in the last 2 weeks, planning permission has been given.
After a hefty 12 month process, with complications mainly due to the centre begin next to a Grade 2 listed building and on a green belt site, the Trust are about to start work.
Richard Keesing, the Chairman of the York Cemetery Trust, has worked tirelessly to reach the agreed proposal which the planning committee unanimously approved, he said:
“After a year of struggling with the planners we managed to modify everything and finally to satisfy everyone. We are having our first post-planning meeting with the architect tomorrow and will get a clear idea when the new buildings will be ready. The first thing we have to do is build a new tool store to allow the current one to be modified and extended for the new facility.
“The visitor centre will be used for educational, historical and environmental purposes and will act as a hub for the whole community. We hope more schools will visit and use the centre. We were very fortunate to be in receipt of a legacy which allows us to provide these long overdue facilities.”
York Cemetery is a grade II* listed landscape and is one of only two privately owned Victorian cemeteries in the UK. Founded in 1837, it now encompasses 24 acres of varied green space right in the heart of the Fishergate.
As well as a working burial ground, the Cemetery provides opportunities for conservation, education, and informal recreation within a protected environment close to the city centre.
It has over 60 volunteers and 4 full-time staff with funds raised through donations, events and delightful guided walks which take place throughout the year.
Last year the Cemetery won a Gold Award in the RHS Yorkshire in Bloom Awards for the fourth year in a row. The judges stated:
“There is so much history connected to this wonderful cemetery.
We were particularly impressed by the way that little gems had been uncovered, preserved and developed around the cemetery – Rock Garden, Lime Avenue, Victorian Fernery and Herb Garden – as well as adding areas such as orchards and bee hives, and masses of bulb planting in the entrance and surrounding areas.
It is good to see that schools, the disabled and volunteer groups are involved in what can only be described as a major community project.”
Want to get to know the Cemetery better? Why not check out their guided walks?