A £2.2m extension to Kernan Cemetery has been earmarked to include a section for graves with more traditional headstones and surrounds.
With the existing cemetery reaching its full burial capacity, the council appointed design consultants URS to come up with a plan that would include a ‘lawn’ section, as is the style at Kernan, together with a traditional section and the inclusion of an infant memorial garden and ashes burial sections.
It is planned in three stages – the first at £1.1m, the second at £680k and the third at £380k. It will cover around seven hectares and reflect the changing attitudes to interments – especially the move towards cremation with burial space at a premium.
It is also a case of the council and the consultants listening to public opinion. Originally, traditional surrounds were frowned upon at Kernan in favour of the lawn design when it was initiated some years ago.
The lawn sector will cover 60 per cent of the space in the new extension, traditional will be 30 per cent, and the infant memorial plus ashes burial the remaining 10 per cent.
There are also thought to be plans for crematoria in the south of the province and in the north-west to complement the busy Roselawn in Belfast and this will further reflect the changing trends.
The consultants presented three options to the council’s environmental services committee, with Robert Bright and Robert Preston representing URS.
Councillors welcomed the relocated entrance plan as they did not believe the current entrance was “very dignified”.
Councillor Johnny Buckley agreed, describing it as “looking like a service entrance”.
The committee was unanimous in recommending Option A which included all the required elements.
It was stated the Craigavon Borough Council was required to make the decision, but that the new ABC Council, which takes over in April, will award the contract.
The new cemetery will have ancillary works like better organised car parking, disabled parking, soft landscaping and paths, improved drainage and various focal points.