A planning application has been submitted to Salford City Council to build an Asda supermarket adjacent to Swinton Precinct. Swinton Precinct in recent times has deteriorated but this is about to get worse with existing businesses being forced to close to make way for any work to start once and if approval is given for the Asda to be built. Some people are also losing their homes on Chadwick Walk.
In my campaigns many residents of Swinton have expressed their views on whether an Asda supermarket will be good for the town and in my discussions it is clear some favour and some do not.
However, all is not what it seems. Despite "growing" evidence that the Asda planning application is a "done" deal due process legally has to take its course.
Asda held an "open" day on the precinct prior to the application being submitted to Salford Council and many Swintonians, a clear majority at that time were in support of the plans. Very few raised any objections about a very important issue which is :-
The Swinton Unitarian Church Chapelyard Burial Ground.
The green piece of land opposite The Football Public House surrounded by the precinct car park is the burial ground for the once Swinton Unitarian Church that existed up to around 1985.
The burial ground is classified as dis-used but a covenant existed at one time that did prevent development of this space.
The last burial took place in 1962 and The Disused Burial Grounds Act 1981 allows a vetoe from deceased relatives within 50 years of any burial. How convenient that 50 years from 1962 is 2012 !!!
This Act precludes any vetoe by surviving relatives after 50 years.
The Unitarian Church od Greater manchester Association inform me the land is covenanted when transferred to salford City Council but they believe that protection no longer exists.
However, conveniently, Salford City Council Planning Officers have not been made aware of any covenant that may have existed to prevent development.
The intentions by the developer we believe is to exhume any remains, a reburial and to remove the burial ground.
However, to my further dismay I am now told that WW 1 and/or WW 2 veterans lay in peace at this site. As of writing full details are not known but I have received confirmation that this is fact.
Further information made public states that there are 55 burial plots at this site with 313 deceased persons lay in peace at the burial ground on Swinton Hall Rd.
I may be wrong as I am no expert but am I right in thinking that if several people rest in one plot then these will be a combination of husbands, wives, mothers, father, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, grandchildren etc etc etc.
Burial plots for their family perhaps ?
Until I made contact with salford Council today they knew nothing of any covenant. They were not going to establish details of those resting in peace and nor were they going to try to ensure through any procedures that any surviving relatives were going to be informed.
Over 300 people resting in peace according to released information at this site. Over 300 local people belonging to the town of Swinton and its surrounding area's.
I am absolutely convinced that most people do NOT know this land is a burial ground for so many people. If they did I am sure many would not be as supportive to the Asda proposals as they and other think they got on their opening day.
This area should be enhanced, preserved undisturbed and respected by local people for what it is - A resting place of Swinton people of which some made terrible sacrifices.
Michael Moulding, The Community Action Party, 92 Wyndham Ave, Clifton, Swinton, M27 6PY
Asda Planning Application, Swinton.
Swinton deceased to make way for a Car Park !