Derbyshire supermarket development could unearth burial ground remains

An artists impression of the new Aldi store in Belper
An artists impression of the new Aldi store in Belper

A major retail company has announced plans to move any human remains it finds during development work on a new town centre store to a graveyard at a nearby churchyard.

The planned new Aldi store on Chapel Street in Belper is to be built over an old burial ground which was discovered when previous development in the area took place.

If any more are found this time, the remains will be moved and reinterred in the graveyard at the nearby Methodist Church on Chapel Lane.

The company’s plans, announced in the January 20 edition of the Belper News, state that the work to exhume the bodies must take place within two months of the notice’s first publication.

A spokesperson for Aldi superstores, said: “As the site is based on a former burial ground this notice was a condition of planning consent before work could begin.

“The site was previously completely cleared before the existing retail unit was constructed so we are not anticipating any further findings on site.

“The developer will however employ an archaeologist to watch over the groundworks and excavations to allow the new store construction to commence.”

The go-ahead for the new store was given by Amber Valley Borough Council in October, but work cannot begin on it until any burials are removed.

The company’s notice goes on to say the burials must be moved in accordance with conditions set down by the Secretary of State and also must be handled with ‘care and decency’.

It also states that the ground where remains are currently interred must be screened from the public gaze while any removal work is completed.

A plan of the present burial place will be available for public inspection at the offices of Archaeological Research Services, on Portland Square in Bakewell, until Wednesday March 2.

Anybody who is the relative or ‘personal representative’ of anyone interred at the burial ground can make their own arrangements for removal and reinterment, but must apply in writing to Archaeological Research Services, Angel House, Portland Square, Bakewell, DE45 1HB, by Wednesday March 2.