A PLAN to create a new cemetery is stepping up a gear, more than four years on from first being mooted.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been exploring the options behind creating a new cemetery in North Waltham, on land to the north of Stockbridge Road.

The borough council has been in discussions with Dignity funeral service, which runs the Basingstoke crematorium about the possibilities of a new cemetery.

At a meeting of cabinet on Tuesday, 15 January, councillors will discuss the possibility of granting Dignity a new lease to provide the comprehensive bereavement service at the North Waltham site.

A report published ahead of the meeting reads: “The construction and delivery of the new site including physical and aesthetic links to the current crematorium will be implemented entirely at Dignity’s cost in accordance with the agreed one site philosophy.

“The plans and delivery timetable will be set out by Dignity in consultation and agreement with the council.”

The report adds: “Dignity have indicated that, in developing the new cemetery site on the land, they will utilise the entire site and which given its extent, enables them to offer a wider choice of bereavement services to customers.”

Should the decision be taken to extend the relationship with Dignity to include the proposed cemetery site, it is intended that the current lease of the nearby crematorium site will be surrendered, with a new consolidated lease granted for the entire site.

Cabinet member for property and development at the borough council, Councillor John Izett, said: “This proposal is an example of how the council can proactively utilise its land interests to help support and facilitate the delivery of a comprehensive bereavement service by a quality private provider.”

In 2014, the council decided to explore new cemetery options, with the Worting Road Cemetery reaching capacity, and in 2015 it purchased the piece of land in North Waltham, to the north of Stockbridge Road.

If the proposals are agreed, the borough council will implement a pilot travel scheme to test community bus provision to help people travel from Basingstoke to the new cemetery.