Natural cathedral to host green burials

The Parks Trust gains planning permission to let people scatter ashes under Milton Keynes' unique Cathedral of Trees.

Cathedral of Trees: designed by landscape architect Neil Higson and modelled on Norwich Cathedral - image: Parks Trust
Cathedral of Trees: designed by landscape architect Neil Higson and modelled on Norwich Cathedral - image: Parks Trust

A much-loved green space could become the final resting place for people's ashes after planning permission was granted to use the site as a green burial ground.

The Parks Trust won over planners for the Cathedral of Trees natural landmark in Milton Keynes, said Briony Serginson, head of engagement at the trust, which cares for the parks and green spaces that make up around a quarter of the city area.

"Over the years, many people have asked us if they can scatter ashes or have memorials in our parks," she said. "We felt the Cathedral of Trees, one of Milton Keynes' best-kept secrets, would be an ideal place for this. If managed carefully and sensitively, we can preserve its unique nature."

The tree form, which is based on Norwich Cathedral, was designed in 1986 by landscape architect Neil Higson. Different species represent the cathedral sections - hornbeam and lime for the nave, evergreens for the central tower and spires.

"We intend green burials to blend seamlessly with the natural environment, so only spring bulbs and meadow flowers will indicate the burial places," said Serginson.

"No gravestones, markers or other mementos will be allowed on the site, though memorial benches will be available," she added.

Each burial will cost between £500 and £1,000. The money generated will pay for the upkeep of green spaces across Milton Keynes.

Civic Space - Piazza

The Parks Trust is to spend £1.2m on MK Rose, a round piazza designed by Gordon Young, who recently designed Comedy Carpet - a 1,880sq m granite typographical pavement made up of jokes and catchphrases - installed on the promenade by Blackpool Tower.


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