Cemetery chiefs pin hopes of sale on public inquiry

Manchester Jewish cemetery representatives are hoping that a public inquiry verdict will generate the funding needed to renovate a burial ground.

Property developer Gemstone Land and New Homes Ltd had agreed to purchase unused land from the Crumpsall cemetery for part of an 87-home residential development. But Manchester City Council refused planning permission last year and the sale was abandoned.

Proceeds from the sale would have been used to rebuild the cemetery’s crumbling paths, prayer house, collapsed graves and fallen gravestones.

Now the developer, assisted by representatives from Stenecourt Synagogue, which owns the cemetery, has lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate and the inquiry will be held on January 28.

Also involved in the appeal is the North Manchester Jewish Cemeteries Trust, on whose behalf Brian White claims the council’s refusal was based on inaccurate information.

“There was a requirement for Manchester City Council to show a five-year plan for supply of housing, but the last one they produced was wrong,” he alleged.

“I am hoping we will win the appeal, which would mean a major refurbishment of Crumpsall cemetery, underpinned by Stenecourt, which is putting substantial funds together with the sale of land. We are also looking to the public to co-fund with us.”

A Manchester City Council spokesperson declined to comment on the appeal on legal grounds but added that the application had been refused “for reasons linking to a loss of green space”, among other issues.

Last updated: 11:45am, January 14 2013