Cumbria

Dalston St Michael's church grave removal plans approved

Church of St Michael and All Angels, Dalston Image copyright Google
Image caption The Church of St Michael and All Angels in Dalston was built in 1750

Unpopular plans to move graves to allow for a church extension have been approved despite parish council concerns.

Dalston Parish Council unanimously refused the extension at the village's Church of St Michael and All Angels.

A planning survey found that the proposal would require the removal of headstones, and possibly bodies, from 17 graves dating between 1800 and 1914.

However, Carlisle City Council has approved the scheme.

City councillors were told by the Parochial Church Council applicants the plans to build a library and function room next to the church were vital to its future.

Ecclesiastical consent

Parish councillors had said they were "extremely concerned" about the removal of tombstones and the digging up of consecrated ground.

But, speaking for the applicants, Trevor Allison said the church council had "gone to considerable lengths and cost" to make the extension fit in with the architecture of the historical church and to address community concerns.

The aim was to ensure the church's future "by establishing a wider role for it in the community", he said.

A previous application was scaled back to avoid cutting down two mature trees, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The planning meeting heard the church would have to secure ecclesiastical consent before it could remove graves.

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