Farmer wins right to burial at home

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The Independent Online
AN ORGANIC farmer and Green Party councillor has been awarded the first certificate allowing an individual to create a private non-commercial burial ground for family and friends on his own land without planning permission, writes Simon Midgley.

Harrogate Borough Council has sold Arnold Warneken, 36, who runs a smallholding in Cowthorpe, Wharfedale, North Yorkshire, the first certificate of lawfulness to be issued under a new amendment to the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act. Until now, individuals wishing to be buried on their own land needed planning permission.

For pounds 35, Mr Warneken has bought the right to bury as many friends and family members as he can fit into the 80ft by 40ft (24m by 12m) plot in a paddock near woods on his eight-acre farm. They can also rest in peace without the risk of being exhumed to make way for a new motorway or because a new owner objects to their presence.

Nicholas Albery, director of the Natural Death Centre in north London, said the development was 'good news for the 43 people who are waiting for permission. Now councils are bound to be less obstinate.' Mr Warneken plans environmentally friendly burials for himself, his wife, Alex Marsh, 37, his daughter Jessica, 6, and relatives and friends who wish to join them. The ashes of Ms Marsh's father, Ronald, are already buried in the paddock.