Dear Mr Bartram,
I am writing in relation to the planning application for the proposed Asda supermarket for Swinton which involved the development of the burial ground at the former site of the Swinton Unitarian Church.
As you are aware many families of the deceased have made very strong objections to having their loved ones removed from their final resting place and despite their personal plea's to you and Salford Council and others, you have done nothing to take their views into account to ensure preservation of this small piece of Swinton.
Therefore, these families have formally requested that I act on their behalf in relation to the matter of trying to stop the destruction of this local heritage site that contains their loved ones and have requested that I represent them in their dealings with Manchester County Court . Your proposals for the new Asda store in Swinton does involve the destruction of this burial ground and no amount of PR exercise by your company will dissuade many people that your plans of destruction is nothing short of repugnant.
The families have asked me to inform you that they believe the process which led to the approval of the planning application for your Asda supermarket for Swinton was procedurally floored and are therefore going to challenge the decision made by Salford City Council at Manchester County Court in the form of a judicial review. The grounds for the request of a judicial review will be presented to the court.
The families accept in law that the owners of the land have the right to exhume the bodies even if the act whether for profit or not is immoral. However, you on behalf of Asda have said to me and others that you will only notify the Ministry of Justice of your intentions to exhume 313 bodies if the planning application to Salford Council was successful.
It is not our intentions to ask Manchester County Court to order an injunction preventing removal of the remains pending an application for a judicial review being heard.
The families have asked me to make contact with you to inform you of their intentions and to request that Asda and/or GVA Grimley suspend the process of exhumation voluntarily pending the judicial review hearing.
On examining the evidence, I believe there is a case to be heard in relation to how Salford City Council arrived at the decision to approve the Asda planning application in that due consideration was not given to all the material facts of the case.
It would be unforgivable and I believe there would be ffurther public outrage if Asda/GVA grimley proceeded with exhumation of bodies and to remove the burial ground and then Manchester County Court approved and upheld the families complaints to the extent that Salford Council were instructed to start the process again, instructed to ensure all material facts were considered which includes the material fact the plans include the development of what is currently a burial ground and that had been removed which had been supported by Asda supermarkets.
The families affected have also made formal complaints to Salford City Council and unless they are resolved will be escalated to the Council's independant regulatory body.
On behalf of families who have loved ones buried at the former Swinton Unitarian Burial Ground I am confirming to you that the decision to approve the planning application for a new Asda at SWinton is being challenged by an application to Manchester County Court in the form of an application for a Judicial review hearing. In view of this I am requesting on their behalf that you suspend the exhumation process until the judicial review hearing is heard.
In the event you proceed with exhumation, the families will still continue with their application for a judicial review and if successful and you have destroyed the final resting place of 313 Swintonians by your failure to take the feelings of all the families into consideration, all those involved no doubt will have some very serious explanations to make to the town and city and all those that are disgusted at you, your company and Salford City Council.
A copy of this email has been sent to Councillor Antrobus, Salford City Council, Mr Mercer, GVA Grimley and to all local media organisations.
I look forward to hearing from you in dues course.
Community Action Party
92 Wyndham Avenue
Tel No - 0161 7948483