A new cemetery at Cruden Bay could provide much-needed burial lairs for the local community for more than 86 years.
Plans have been lodged by Aberdeenshire Council for the cemetery extension in an agricultural field adjacent to Cruden Parish Church.
The one hectare site would provide 1,717 lairs and be surrounded by a boundary hedge comprising either common and purple beech or a mixture of native hedging plants.
The local authority says that as it is quite a large cemetery, it would phase its use to help keep maintenance costs low while also providing a large area for biodiversity until such time as it is required.
The first two sections will be used first, with sections three and four being partially screened by a hedge and sown with wild flowers until required.
Drawings also show that as the Waters of Cruden is within 50m of the north-east part of the site, the council has made this area a casket and remembrance garden area which will enjoy planting and benches to allow the public somewhere peaceful to sit.
The council’s planning department has no objections to the proposals and states: “The proposed new cemetery would sit directly east of the existing graveyard and would have a negligible impact on the open rural setting of the listed building.”
Cruden Parish Church lies just yards from the famous 17th century Bishop’s Bridge which is still awaiting vital repair work five years after it was seriously damaged in traffic accidents.
The narrow, curving Bishop’s Bridge was struck on two separate occasions back in late 2013 and again in early 2014 causing significant damage to the parapets.
At the time, council officers raised concerns that additional damage was being caused by large vehicles ignoring the width and weight restriction and using the route as a ‘rat-run’ by motorists going to Newburgh.
Measuring just 2.4 metres in width and with a weight limit of only three tonnes, the B-listed bridge near Cruden Parish Church was subsequently closed for some time under a Prohibition of Vehicular Traffic Order to enable Aberdeenshire Council to undertake emergency repairs.
But councillors on the authority’s Buchan Area Committee were told earlier this year that a full programme of historic repairs has not yet been carried out.
During discussion of the council’s 2019 roads and bridges maintenance programmes, Peterhead South and Cruden councillor Stephen Calder asked why there was no mention of the Bishop’s Bridge in the report.
He was advised that modern temporary repairs had been undertaken with cement mortar, but that the historic lime mortar process had not yet taken place.
The stonework which fell into the burn below is being stored by the council for permanent repair.
Although a firm date has not been scheduled, it is hoped the works could be undertaken this year but it may stretch into next year.