More optimistic outlook for Coldingham cemetery

(Left to right) Dave Jones with SBC Councillors Jim Fullerton and Michael Cook
(Left to right) Dave Jones with SBC Councillors Jim Fullerton and Michael Cook

having reached a dead end back in 2001 when an extension to Coldingham cemetery was first discussed, a decade later things are looking a lot more optimistic.

Around 80 Coldingham and St Abbs residents met with Scottish Borders Council officials last Friday to look again at the question of extending the cemetery as they have now reached the point where no more burials are possible other than in previously purchased plots, meaning that burials now have to take place at Eyemouth or Ayton.

Scottish Borders Council bought land adjacent to the existing cemetery to extend it but Historic Scotland insisted that burials began at the furthest point away from the cemetery in a piece of land where they had already carried out investigations but that was unacceptable to local residents because of drainage and access issues.

Speaking after last Friday’s meeting, ex-councillor David Jones who championed the cause a decade ago, was optimistic at the response the community received from council officials this time around.

“It was a good meeting. Everybody who came was really taking on board the issues.

“It’s two years now since anyone was buried at Coldingham.

“The council looked at it before but couldn’t find a way to solve the problems in Abbey Field because of the drainage issue so they haven’t done anything with it. This time they came and wanted to find a solution.

“Coldingham Community Company has found people who have ways of getting over the problems of drainage and a representative of the company was at the meeting and was introduced to the council officers.

“It was left with a positive slant and with all officers agreeing that there is a way forward. The council and the company will put a presentation together and will come back to the community as quickly as possible. “

Team work definitely seems to be the way forward if the Coldingham and St Abbs community are to have the option of local burials in the future, and Coldingham Community Company are also likely to come on board as they can access grant funding for the archaeology work which the council would not be eligible to do.

Councillor Len Wyse, SBC’s executive member for environmental services, said: “Officers from our environment and infrastructure department attended a public meeting with councillors, residents and the community council in recognition that work was needed to move closer to the community’s expectations relating to cemetery provision in the Coldingham area. Officers provided an overview of the current position and also gained an understanding of the wishes of the community as a whole. A number of outcomes were achieved and the team are committed to exploring those avenues of enquiry with the community in moving this forward.”