Taken from Liverpool Echo 29th April 2014
Church leaders made a dramatic U-turn by dropping a controversial scheme to build over more than 80 graves at a historic cemetery.
The scrapping of the so-called “rotunda” building extension at Grade I-listed All Saints church, Childwall, is a victory for campaigners who have bitterly fought the scheme since it was first unveiled more than three years ago.
The Diocese of Liverpool said the decision not to go ahead with the project to build over 87 graves in the churchyard was “unanimously agreed” at a meeting of the parochial church council (PCC) for All Saints.
It comes only a week after the ECHO reported the PCC had put the scheme on hold for another year, a move which sparked fresh anger from campaigners and from those whose loved ones are buried in the part of the churchyard affected by the building plan.
The extension scheme, set to provide new toilets and meeting rooms, was initially thrown out by city planners in 2011 but an appeal by the Diocese was upheld by the Planning Inspectorate.
Church officials had said they could not rule out having to exhume bodies during the building work.
Campaigner Chris Walpole, whose family grave was among those that could have been built on, said she was overjoyed the scheme had finally been abandoned.
She added: “We first came into this exactly three years ago and it’s been an absolute nightmare. I think church leaders came to their senses because of all the bad publicity it generated. They realised they couldn’t go ahead with it because there was so much opposition.
“We’re ecstatic but we will still be keeping one eye open until we get official notification the scheme has been withdrawn.”
The church now intends to press ahead with a separate scheme to redevelop its nearby church hall to create the new All Saints Centre.The PCC is also pursuing the sale and development of some land from the vicarage garden.
This will be used to build three new houses, which are currently awaiting planning approval.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Liverpool confirmed the application - known as a “faculty petition” - to the Consistory Court of the Church of England for permission to build on the graveyard had now been withdrawn, which meant the rotunda scheme was no longer being pursued.
The formal withdrawal of the faculty petition meant that if the church wanted to pursue the rotunda in the future, they would need to start the process again.