A grieving son “couldn’t believe it” when he visited a cemetery and discovered a row of houses had been built – ONE FOOT from his parents’ graves.
Bill Higgins, 64, regularly visits the rural cemetery where his dad Morris and mum Irene are buried in the same plot.
The granddad even bought a bench so he could sit at the picturesque spot in the village of Waters Upton and look out over the rolling Shropshire hills.
But Bill was shocked when he visited his parents’ joint grave before Christmas and saw seven houses being built right next to the cemetery at Saint Michael’s church.
The properties are now almost finished with the boundary wall from one of the homes situated just 12ins away from Morris and Irene’s joint headstone.
Bill, who lives with his wife Christine, 60, in nearby Wellington, Shrops., said the building site had ruined the peaceful countryside graveyard.
The retired mechanical engineer added: “My mum and dad lived in Bristol but my dad was born in Shropshire and said he wanted to come back to retire.
“When they came back in the 70s it was a quiet village and was lovely.
“They chose to be buried there because of the lovely views from the cemetery over the Shropshire hills.
“I tend to come down here on special occasions like their birthdays and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and Christmas and things like that.
“I enjoy the peace and quiet and even bought a bench for people to sit on when they visit their relative’s graves.
“But as all the old people in the village have died, the youngsters have come in and it has turned into a building site.
“I think it started just before Christmas and now there are seven houses altogether.
“When I came to lay flowers on the grave I couldn’t believe it, there was a housing estate basically on top of where my mum and dad are buried.
“One of the houses is just a foot from my parents’ plot, if the builders have come any closer with their diggers they might have excavated the grave.
“The houses are not finished yet but I think people will be moving in pretty son as they are getting on with getting them ready quickly.
“When I come to see the grave in the future all I’m going to see is people having their dinner in the house.
“There were lovely views of the countryside but now there’s just houses. It’s ruined the cemetery, it is an eyesore.
“It’s absolutely disgusting, I can’t think of the words to describe it. My parents would be very upset if they were alive now.
“My parents wanted to rest in peace, not next to a building site.”
Morris was buried at the cemetery after he died aged 77 in 1977 and his wife Irene was laid to rest in the same plot when she passed away at the same age in 1997.
Dad-of-one Bill, who also has one granddaughter, has asked the authorities to plant bushes to screen the graveyard from the seven new homes.
But his pleas have fallen on deaf ears with Waters Upton Parish Council saying a fence has been planned instead.
Bill added: “People knew there were going to be the houses built but I don’t think they realised how close some of them were going to be to the cemetery.
“Originally I asked for the house to be torn down then I asked for a bush to be planted to hide the house, not that it could completely hide it.
“I do try to help the community in every way I can. It feels like it’s me against the council.
“I haven’t had any contact with the vicar of St Michael’s church as I don’t live in the village.
“But I am going to write to the Diocese of Lichfield to see why they allowed this to happen.
“I do feel very sad and upset about it, I don’t like coming to the cemetery any more.”
Developers Days New Homes Ltd said their plans were backed by Telford and Wrekin Council and added that they have made contributions to improve the cemetery.
Spokesman Alan Day said: “The scheme is being constructed strictly in accordance with the planning permission granted by Telford and Wrekin Council.
“Included within it is an extension to the cemetery itself along with appropriate landscaping provided in consultation with the local parish council.
“There will also be the provision of designated safe parking adjacent to the new extension for the sole use of visitors to the cemetery.”
Katrina Baker, clerk to Waters Upton Parish Council, added: “We’ve got as part of this development an extension on the cemetery and car parking which has been gratefully accepted by the council and the houses came as part of the deal.
“We do understand Bill is concerned. A fence will go up which is being provided by the developer.
“The reason they haven’t been able to go with a hedge is because of the closeness to the graves.”