Walsall Road, Springhill: on Islands

I note from a a number of email enquiries that there has been some controversy of late locally; a plan has existed for some time now to construct a new cemetery at Springhill on the Walsall (Lichfield) Road, between Shire Oak and Muckley Corner. The site of the burial ground is at the former Springhill Farm, to the East of the A461, just south of the M6 Toll. Part of this development involves constructing an island on the A461 Walsall Road.


The location of Springhill Cemetery and traffic island highlighted in red, plotted on Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 scale mapping. Click for a larger version.

The plan for the cemetery has been rattling around for nearly a decade, and has been approved for some time, after an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate; indeed, construction is now underway. I’m aware that there’s been a lot of local conflict over this, and a good deal of misinformation abounding. The fact is, the scheme has been approved, and is being built.

A planning history of the site can be browsed here, on Lichfield District Council’s website.

The cemetery is being constructed by Springhill Business Services of Birmingham, who are also constructing the new cemetery in Chasetown, as well as others across the country. It’s interesting that with municipal facilities rapidly filling, and councils unable to invest in as much capacity as is needed, private burial grounds such as Springhill are a growth industry across the UK.

Rumours that this project, or the one in Burntwood are for muslims only, are incorrect. These facilities will be open to all. An application to extend the site to include a crematoria was declined. There will be areas for multiple faiths in both cemeteries.

The new traffic island on the A461 Walsall Road will be about halfway between Whittaker and Pouk Lanes, around the crest of Springhill. Construction of this will start soon and take approximately 8 months. Again, this has caused some controversy.


The actual island to be built on the A461 from planning documents lodged with Lichfield District Council. Click for a larger version.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with it. There’s currently a huge amount of farmland for sale around Stonnall, and the dispersal of the Springhill group of farms laid the area open to intensive development. In the absence of agricultural use, I’d rather have relative green uses of land – like cemeteries – than houses or creeping industrialisation, which I think we would all agree are always better on  brownfield sites. As to a new traffic island on the A461, it will get built. This may be inconvenient for a while, but alternate routes exist, and anything that calms the traffic over Springhill can’t be a bad thing in my view.

When the new island was added at the bottom of Barracks Lane on the A5 a few years ago, I expected it to be a disaster, but in use, it actually works very well. I’ve no reason to expect this to be any different.

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Sprinhill Farm has lain fallow for some years now, like a lot of farmland in the wider Stonnall area. Imagery from Bing! maps. Click for a larger version.

I present this information to help readers find out what’s going on. I have no intention of debating the application or it’s merits, which have been rehashed over and over again elsewhere. This post is for information purposes only. Anything commented here that is abusive or defamatory will be removed, and comments closed.

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9 Responses to Walsall Road, Springhill: on Islands

  1. Graeme Fisher says:

    Makes perfect sense to me. Church burial ground are for the God-botherers, and they are filling up rapidly, the use of greenfield sites for burials makes sense; keeps it greenfield for centuries more.
    As as the new island goes, not an issue. I’d prefer an island to a junction where chancers and retards pull out on fast moving traffic with tragic conequences.

  2. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    I think readers may like to consult the full ,objective informaton on Lichfield Council planning department’s website which gives details of the layout of the cemetery, its ultimate capacity, and the history of the planning applications, refusals, appeals, restricitions, etc. There seems to be no lack of municipal cemeteries or burial plots in Lichfield, where a new municipal cemetery has been opened recently.I understand Walsall borough’s cemetery at Streetly has further land “zoned” to become plots in the future. Neither of these municipal cemeteries is on a main arterial highway, unlike this one at Springhill.
    I am pleased that you have posted this article as the imminent roadworks, and speed restrictions, will cause problems,locally, for a projected eight months or so, weather permitting. Readers may remember the traffic congestion when the M6 Toll road was being built, some years ago.

    • David
      The information on the Planning site is linked from the article.
      I think in the interests of fairness, it’s important to note your links to Springhill Church, the opposition from which has been somewhat vociferous.

  3. Peter says:

    The burial ground itself doesn’t bother me either way. The construction of the Traffic Island, if nothing else, will slow traffic speeds on what is a very fast road. At present no cameras, no police etc means a free for all, this is designated a 60 limit, but as a busy commuter route the 60 markers are more often than not considered a minimum not a maximum. I think the route of the A461 was altered slightly when the Toll Road was first built, ironically that change made it easier to travel quicker, I often wonder why an Island wasn’t constructed a little further south on the 461 where the Motor Factor and Barracks lane crossroads are. That junction really is seat of the pants stuff!!!
    Cheers Bob, keep up the good work.

  4. Andy Dennis says:

    If you want to follow up the decision-making by the Planning Inspectorate, relevant decisions can be found at:

    From waht I have read the Council did not include Green Belt in their reasons for refusal, but the Inspector thought it was worth looking at, anyway. The essential difference is that while the burial ground would not, in the opinion of the Inspector, significantly harm the openness of the Green Belt, the proposed crematorium building would. In planning terms this is a straightforward, and accurate, interpretation of national policy regarding the Green Belt. The same would apply under the current National Planning Policy Framework – https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/6077/2116950.pdf

    It appears the Council was unable to provide compelling evidence to support the reasons for refusal to do with access off the A461, traffic impact on nearby roads and accessibility by public transport.

  5. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    I am a member of Springhill Church, yes. We sent one letter to Lichfield Council to express our concerns about the increased traffic problems that numerous slow funeral corteges would bring to this stretch of a major trunk road . This was when the initial application was posted,.nailed to a telegraph pole, in fact, some five or six years ago, I think . I hardly call that “somewhat vociferous”, Bob.

    • Hi David
      With the greatest respect, I’d like to make a couple of points.
      Firstly, I specifically pointed out that this wasn’t to be a discussion of the merits or otherwise of the plan. I have good reason for that, and as a senior member of this blog community, I would ask that you respect my wishes. I do not wish to restrict debate, but in this case I have very good reason to do so.
      Secondly, since the beginning of this blog, I have been bombarded with mail about this subject from a number of people, some claiming to be from the Church. I started to look at this issue in 2009, but the mail I have received – some logical, well argued and reasoned – started to become questionable in legality, tone and content, I decided that the issue was being approached in such a manner that any rational debate was impossible. I stand by that.
      Like other local blogs, I have been accused of some pretty grim stuff for not printing on demand material that is defamatory, factually incorrect and distinctly unchristian.
      It’s sad that this is the case, as I’m sure there’s a rational, sane debate to be had, but sadly, it seems impossible.
      There have also been acts of vandalism and other physical stuff I really don’t wish to fuel.

  6. Tracy Bluck says:

    Thank you for the information. Keep up the good work.

  7. Barry Carpenter says:

    Thanks for the info. Bob. Having seen the sign that appeared on the center res. a while back and the later remark splated on it! We have been in conversation about the site ever since. Yes there is a need for new burial grounds and I sure that Victorian Londoners had simular arguments. Remember they ended up building railway connections to transport their reminds to the cemeteries. I’m sure that once opened and the local nimby’s have got used to the extra traffic and the new neighbours, the preceived problems will vanish.

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