Former Calshot airbase could become new cemetery

A former Royal Naval Air Squadron (RNAS) base at Calshot could become a new cemetery as New Forest District Council is set to apply for planning permission to develop the site.

The Eaglehurst Camp, which housed members of the Royal Naval Air Squadron from 1917, is now owned by the council.

In the proposal the land, also known as Top Camp, would be developed in three phases, the first of which would provide 700 grave spaces.

Ultimately 2,100 burial plots could be made available on the site, helping to meet the council’s statutory responsibility to provide burial space.

The council is proposing to develop the site as nearby Blackfield cemetery is expected to run out of grave spaces to purchase in around six months.

The proposed new cemetery would be landscaped as a lawn cemetery within the existing woodland setting, retaining the character of the landscape and many mature trees.

Councillor Sophie Beeton, portfolio holder for the environment, said: “It can be a difficult time for individuals and families choosing a burial site for loved ones. Often this has to be miles from home because of the lack of grave spaces.

By carrying out detailed site and habitat surveys we believe that this former RNAS base could be transformed into an attractive new cemetery.

Details of the site’s important heritage can be incorporated into the planning proposal and it would provide much needed grave space in this part of the district.”

A planning application is expected to be submitted within the next two months.

Once the application has been submitted the public will be able to comment on the proposals at newforest.gov.uk/planning .