PLANS to build seven homes on a graveyard in Steeple have been refused.

Proposals for seven two bedroom homes in a former chapel graveyard, off Batts Road, were rejected by Maldon District Council’s south eastern planning committee on Monday.

The controversial development was met with outrage by many residents and relatives of those buried in the graveyard who labelled the plans disrespectful and abhorrent.

Stephen Smith, whose great grandmother is buried in the graveyard, said: “I and many others have relatives lying at rest in that supposed inactive section of the burial ground, and the thought that these plans would be allowed to continue is abhorrent. Sewerage, mains water and other services would have to be brought to the properties, which would mean excavation through the burial ground.

“My great-grandmother has only been at rest for 57 years in the burial ground and there are numerous relatives of the deceased in that portion who hold loving memories.”

Valerie Lowe, another with relatives in the graveyard, added: “It is deplorable that the burial ground has already been cynically destroyed so as to make it unrecognisable. My great-grandparents are among those buried there.”