Cemetery's burial costs could increase after outsiders buy plots

Burials at a cemetery could increase in price to help preserve spaces for local people, after “numerous” attempts by ineligible non-parishioners to buy plots.

The prices of burials could increase at a county cemetery
The prices of burials could increase at a county cemetery

Hadley Cemetery plot reservation and burial fees have not risen since 2018 and non-parishioners are charged double and only admitted “in limited circumstances”.

Hadley and Leegomery Parish Council clerk Jonathan Brumwell notes that those rates are “significantly lower” than those at Telford and Wrekin Council sites and the cemetery manager reports cases of outsiders who do not meet the criteria applying.

Mr Brumwell suggests raising Hadley prices to two thirds of Telford and Wrekin’s rates for residents and four thirds for non-residents.

The parish’s Finance and General Purposes Committee will discuss his report on Tuesday, September 21.

“At the extraordinary meeting of the parish council, held on March 20, 2020, to discuss measures to be put in place to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the council resolved to reduce interment feeds at Hadley Cemetery by 50 per cent,” Mr Brumwell writes.

He adds that this measure was intended to help residents “at a time when heightened mortality was expected”.

“The purchase of burial rights was also restricted to those arranging a funeral to preserve burial space,” he says.

“Cemetery fees are reviewed annually as part of the budget-setting process.

“Fees at Hadley Cemetery are significantly lower than Telford and Wrekin Council’s cemetery fees. The parish council has historically maintained this differential as a service to residents, who have partly-funded the maintenance and operational costs of Hadley Cemetery through the precept.

“Non-residents may apply to purchase the rights of burial in limited circumstances, and the right of interment at Hadley Cemetery is similarly restricted for non-residents.

“Partly due to Covid, fees at Hadley Cemetery have not increased since 2018 and the differential between fees charged at Hadley Cemetery and Telford and Wrekin’s cemeteries has increased significantly.

“As a result, in some cases, it is less costly to arrange a funeral of a non-resident at Hadley Cemetery than at a Telford and Wrekin cemetery.

“The cemetery manager reports numerous instances of persons applying for funerals at Hadley Cemetery who are not eligible.”

The 50-year right to a burial plot currently costs £1,150 at a Telford and Wrekin cemetery, compared to £600 for parish residents and £1,200 for non-residents at Hadley Cemetery, on Hadley Park Road.

The report recommends setting the parishioners’ rate at £766.67 – two thirds of Telford and Wrekin’s rate – with non-residents continuing to pay double, at £1,533.33.

Single-grave burials currently cost £895 in borough council cemeteries. The report suggests raising the Hadley Cemetery rates from £450 to £596.67 and £900 to £1,193.33 for locals and outsiders respectively.

Mr Brumwell adds that members could agree to maintain the same two-thirds and four-thirds ratio with Telford and Wrekin’s prices as they change from 2022-23 onwards.

“This would continue the parish council’s historical policy of providing a more affordable place of burial or interment for residents of the parish and would continue to afford eligible non-residents the opportunity for burial or interment at Hadley Cemetery,” he writes.

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