Derry & Strabane Council has confirmed that it is examining a number of potential sites for a major new cemetery in Derry.
Several greenfield areas across the cityside are currently being looked at.
The potential sites have been identified after the council last year called on local land owners to submit expressions of interest.
Following extensive works to create more space at the City Cemetery over recent years, the city’s largest place of rest will have reached its capacity within seven years.
At present, the historic cemetery is the only graveyard on the west bank still in use for burials.
Over 75,000 local people have been buried in the Council-owned facility since it opened back in 1853.
The plan for a new graveyard has been listed in the new Derry & Strabane Council’s Service Delivery Plan for 2017/18, with a key objective of the plan to “progress with site investigations for new cemetery provision for the westbank of the city.”
A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council confirmed to the ‘Journal’ that Council is currently “in the process of scoping out a number of potential sites suitable for the location of cemetery provision.”
It is understood no preferred option has yet been chosen, but it is unlikely the new cemetery will be located as centrally as the City Cemetery, due to a lack of available and suitable green space.
It is more likely that greenfield sites along the fringe of the city, which stretches from Galliagh, Ballyarnett and Skeoge in the north to Termonbacca and Nixon’s Corner in the south, will house the new facility.
Speaking about current provision, the council spokesperson said: “Space at council’s current sites is limited and expected to reach full capacity by 2024.
“A tender exercise was carried out in 2016 seeking expressions of interest from landowners and a number of areas are now being investigated as part of that process.”
She added: “A full report will be brought before council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee detailing any successful applications for consideration over the coming months.”
In addition to the City Cemetery on Lone Moor Road, Derry currently has three other cemeteries still used for interment across the Waterside: Alla Claudy, Ballyoan, Rossdowney Road and Altnagelvin, Church Brae.
There are also five other cemeteries across the city and district which are looked after by the council, but which are considered ‘closed’ in that they are no longer used for burials.
These are Straidarran, Claudy; Enagh Lough; Claudy Cumber; Kilea, Letterkenny Road and Old Glendermott Cemetery in the Waterside.
The City Cemetery has been the final resting place for generations of local families.
In 2012, the then Derry City Council launched a new Visitor’s Guide Booklet, bringing together the history of the graveyard with the stories of some of the most prominent local people to have been laid to rest there.
Over the coming year, the council plans to complete vegetation removal to six closed cemeteries across Derry and Strabane.
Conservation and Management plans will also be developed for three closed cemeteries.