PLANS have been approved to change a field into a 'natural burial' cemetery in Alston. 

The original application for the site at Bridge End Farm, Leadgate Road, was submitted to Westmorland & Furness' Planning Authority on July 28, 2023. 

Natural burial is the placing of bodies into the ground in a manner that does not inhibit decomposition but allows the body to be naturally recycled.

The application was put forward to planners by Mr & Ms Williams of Memotrees. 

It's been described that natural burial costs considerably less than traditional funerals and plays an "important role in conservation efforts". 

The supporting planning statement reads: "Here you can scatter ashes and dedicate pre-planted trees in memory of a loved one.

"Alternatively, cremated remains are placed in a biodegradable urn or mixed freely with compost and a large, potted tree of a variety of your choosing is planted on top of the ashes to create a memory that grows.

"This tree is managed and cared for until it is established sufficiently to look after itself.

"An engraved Lakeland slate memorial plaque with your own personal message adorned upon it in remembrance is laid flat to the ground so that they have no visual impact on the surroundings.

"As the popularity of our initial project has grown, we have been asked by families if we can accommodate full-body natural burials, as well as those of created remains.

"It is due to the nature of those inquiries that have led us to apply for planning for change of use from agricultural land to cemetery," it reads. 

20 car parking spaces were also included within the original planning application. 

The development must begin within the next three years.