First new cemetery in Cheshire town for 120 years set to be opened

The first new cemetery in Widnes for more than 120 years has been officially unveiled. Peel House Cemetery was recently opened by the Deputy Mayor of Halton, Cllr Martha Lloyd Jones.

Built on a five-hectare site which was formerly part of Fairfield High School playing fields, it is the first all-new cemetery in the town since Birchfield Road Cemetery was opened in 1898. It marks the culmination of a long process to set up a new cemetery in the town.

A working group was set up by the council in 2011 to find a new site after it was revealed the current cemetery on Birchfield Road was running out of space.

Planning work for Peel House began in the mid-2010s and a start on site was made in 2017. Construction work was completed in April, 2020 at a cost of £1.3m and the site will provide space for full burials, cremated remains burials and cremated remains sanctum vaults for the next 50 years.

The Deputy Mayor, accompanied at the opening by the Consort, Cllr Peter Lloyd Jones, said: “The creation of a new cemetery is not an everyday occurrence – it signifies a very important moment in time for an authority and for the community. “It demonstrates the importance of providing a fitting place to remember people that we have lost and shows the care and attention we place in doing this.”

The site includes a quiet ‘columbarium garden’ – described as a ‘quiet, contemplative space’ containing above-ground granite vaults in which cremated remains are housed.

At the centre of the site is a central garden with seating under pergolas facing a central Pennine stone monolith. The southern half of the site is currently kept as a meadow area and has been seeded with wild flowers. The perimeter is planted with a native mix of hedgerow and woodland trees.

There are 40 car parking spaces, including four accessible spaces. The whole site is also wheelchair accessible.

The Deputy Mayor added: “The creation of a new cemetery required a great deal of hard work from many different disciplines and organisation to achieve what we see here today.

“My thanks go out to everyone involved for that work and commitment to create the cemetery, and to those charged with running it and looking after it for many years ahead. It really is something for Halton to be proud of.”

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