A PLEDGE has been made that Buckley will not be left behind in the search for extra burial space in Flintshire despite the lack of available room to expand its current cemetery.

It came as councillors backed proposals to increase the size of two other major graveyards in the county at a combined cost of £825,000.

Hawarden’s No. 2 Cemetery and Bryn y Grog in Hope have been identified by Flintshire Council as the highest priority for extension with the latter only having seven burial spaces left.

As a result, the authority is in the advanced stages of buying nearby land to allow work to increase capacity to go ahead.

However, plans to improve Buckley Cemetery on Elfed Drive have hit a major stumbling block because of the absence of suitable surrounding land.

Despite the issues, a senior officer has pledged an alternative location will be found in the town to enable people to bury their loved ones close to home.

Speaking at a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the shortage of burial plots, Steve Jones, the council’s chief officer for Streetscene and transportation, said: “Clearly with nine years of capacity left, we are looking at the issues in Buckley.

“Just to reassure everybody, we are already looking at options within the town and there are no plans to abandon that as a site for burial moving forward.

“We need to look at different options than what we’ve got as there is no opportunity to develop there.

“It’s not simply a case of just moving in and making a field a burial site, there’s a lot of test work to be done so we do need a four-year window to give us time to look for land and start that procurement process.”

During the meeting of the authority’s environment scrutiny committee, a local councillor questioned whether Bistre Church could be used as an alternative location.

Buckley Pentrobin representative Dennis Hutchinson said he had spoken with the church’s vicar, who indicated he would be willing to offer a section of land to the council.

He said: “With regards to Buckley, it is recognised that the church is now at capacity.

“The one remaining church is Bistre Church and there is an area of land adjacent to that which I did mention to officers in the past, but unfortunately it wasn’t progressed.

“I think now is the time that we re-look at it.

“It is a relatively small piece of land but I think it would actually allow quite a number of burials to take place in there.”

In response, Mr Jones said the church site was one of a number which would be investigated.

But he added there were issues with land contamination which could hinder its use.

At the end of the meeting, councillors expressed their support for work worth £225,000 to be carried out at Hope Cemetery, while £600,00 will be spent to extend Flintshire’s main cemetery in Hawarden.

They also agreed for officers to identify future burial locations in Buckley.