The mother and father of somewhat boy buried in a churchyard have blasted plans to transform a historic Twelfth-century church right into a luxurious residence – as a result of his grave would find yourself in a household’s garden.
A row has damaged out over proposals to develop St Andrew’s Church right into a residential property in the quaint hamlet of Wolferlow, Herefordshire.
Ian Edwards died 4 days earlier than Christmas 1984 aged simply three-years-old after a chest tumour and is buried in a plot alongside the Grade II-listed constructing.
His father Colin Edwards, 71, is now embroiled in a bitter row with council bosses over ‘immoral’ plans to rework the sacred place into a rustic dwelling.
Colin nonetheless lives and works on a farm within reach of the church and has maintained the church grounds in the village for the previous 35 years.
He and his livid former spouse Laura Edwards, 65, are additionally indignant after Ian’s grave was fenced off forward of the proposed redevelopment.
The pair concern that when the church is transformed right into a property they are going to be missed by its residents whereas laying flowers at Ian’s graveside.
They have additionally criticised the native CofE diocese after it offered the property with out consulting the family of the deceased buried in the churchyard.
Ian Edwards died 4 days earlier than Christmas 1984 aged simply three-years-old and is buried in a plot proper alongside the picturesque Grade II-listed constructing in Wolferlow, Herefordshire
An unholy row has damaged out over proposals to develop St Andrew’s Church right into a residential property in the quaint hamlet of Wolferlow, Herefordshire. Above: Ian Edwards’ grave highlighted
Ian’s mom Laura Edwards, 65, of Bromyard, Herefordshire, nonetheless visits her son’s grave a number of occasions a 12 months
Colin stated he even tried to purchase the church himself ‘to only depart it as it’s’ however was outbid by property builders and worries it may now turn into a vacation residence.
He stated: ‘It’s a home of God, not a vacation let. The lifeless needs to be given some dignity.
‘You would not knock Westminster Abbey all the way down to convert it into flats so why have the church allowed this to occur?
‘I’ve mown the grass and trimmed the hedges for over 30 years. Who will look after the graves as soon as it is developed?
‘The truth it has been finished with none session with family can be deeply regarding.
‘The church has been a part of this hamlet for generations and I’m shocked the diocese have simply determined to half with it for the sake of some cash.
‘It is a sacred place and now my son’s grave and different family of mine are going to finish up in any individual’s entrance garden.
‘It will stay a working churchyard so I’m additionally unsure why the occupants would wish to watch a funeral happening outdoors their window anyway.
Laura, 65, was incandescent with rage when she found her son’s plot had been fenced off forward of the proposed redevelopment upon a latest go to.
She stated she was devastated when she went to put some flowers to search out her son’s gravestone inaccessible and mendacity behind a chain-link fence.
Laura stated: ‘I simply discover the entire thing utterly immoral. When I’m going to my son’s grave I do not wish to have a household watching TV looking their home windows at me.
‘It’s a time for quiet reflection and also you need your family to be in a peaceable place. I used to be devastated once I went up there and located all of it fenced off.
‘There has by no means been any indicators up so why unexpectedly are they fencing it off for security causes?
‘This may fairly simply be changed into a vacation residence so there might be all kinds of individuals there whereas I’m making an attempt to grieve my son.
The development plans for the Twelfth century church may see it reworked right into a luxurious vacation residence
‘His grave is true up towards the church window, it simply appears utterly disrespectful.
‘They have offered it to the very best bidders with none take care of the family of the deceased there.
‘Because my son’s grave is beneath 50 years previous it can’t be disturbed however their plans embrace digging up older graves for sewage and garages.
‘It simply would not appear proper to me. It has all been finished with none communication both, my husband provided to purchase it so he may proceed to keep up it.
‘He has maintained the grounds there for 35 years by himself. We produce other members of the family there who died.’
Ian’s uncle and godfather, Mike Smith, stated he was solely conscious of plans to transform the Twelfth-century church when he examine it in a neighborhood newspaper.
He stated: ‘The church hasn’t consulted dwelling family of these buried right here about what they suggest to do.
‘It’s at greatest insensitive, at worst, crass.’
The final service was held in St Andrew’s Church (above) in 2003 and it was formally closed in 2006, though a number of burials have since been held in the grounds
The final service was held in the church in 2003 and it was formally closed in 2006, though a number of burials have since been held in the grounds.
The Diocese of Hereford stated the grave and three others have just lately been fenced off because of the hazard of falling masonry from the deteriorating constructing.
Colin stated this too was finished with out session, although others affected would additionally want to go on tending graves of family members.
The planning software exhibits a C-shaped portion of the church grounds, excluding the graves, forming a part of the brand new property, traversed by the present public proper of method.
Consultation for the plans closed on Monday and a choice on whether or not to approve them is because of be made later this month.
The Diocese of Hereford confirmed that the sale, believed to be in the area of £75,000, would not undergo with out planning permission first being granted.
A spokesperson stated: ‘Church Commissioners would require strict covenants as a part of the sale to make sure the church constructing and churchyard are handled with respect, and that no monuments or memorials are disturbed.
‘The diocese had sought options to promoting with the broader neighborhood, however these had been unsuccessful.’
They additionally apologised for the misery brought on by the a number of the graves at the moment being inaccessible, including: ‘We are working with the insurer’s surveyor to hunt a method ahead that may enable entry to the graves whereas nonetheless guaranteeing guests’ security.’
Church representatives have provided to fulfill the Edwards in an try and quell their considerations.
Parish church council treasurer Chris Evans stated they would retain duty for a part of the churchyard, together with the graves.
He stated: ‘We nonetheless look after the grounds and can proceed to take action as soon as they’re developed. There might be no downside with entry.’
Parish councillor for Wolferlow Stephen Tompkins added: ‘I welcome any work to be finished to protect what’s a crumbling constructing and an apparent deteriorating asset.’
In an announcement, the Archdeacon of Hereford Derek Chedzey stated:
‘My prayers are with the household of Ian Edwards. Losing a baby at any age is a tragedy no mum or dad or household ought to need to bear. I’m deeply sorry for their loss.
‘Ian’s grave is presently inaccessible because of the safety fence, which was erected on the recommendation of the insurance coverage firm for security causes. The church constructing has been unused in practically 20 years and there’s a threat of falling roof tiles. We are working with the Edwards household and our insurer’s surveyor to hunt a method ahead that may enable entry to the graves whereas nonetheless guaranteeing the protection of holiday makers to the churchyard.
‘Since the closure of St Andrew’s in 2006 the diocese of Hereford stays accountable for the insurance coverage of the church constructing. The PCC stays accountable for the maintenance and upkeep of the churchyard and this can proceed to be the case following any sale of the constructing.
‘The closure of a church constructing is a final choice and happens when all different avenues have been exhausted.
‘I would prefer to say as soon as once more how deeply sorry I’m for the misery induced to the Edwards household and others who’ve graves contained in the fence, which aren’t presently accessible.’