'Scarce' graves could be recycled
PUBLISHED: 09:00 26 June 2015
UP TO 20 'common graves' without a headstone in a Weston cemetery may be re-used at a reduced price, with land for plots in the town becoming 'scarce'.
Weston Town Council has permission from the Bath and Wells Diocese to re-use the burial spaces at its Milton Road Cemetery.
People purchase a grave for a period of 80-90 years, with the option to extend the lease in the future.
But if this does not happen, the diocese has granted the council permission to re-use common graves which have been dug to a double depth.
Amenities manager Theresa Donald said: “There is permission to do this. It is done nationwide. It is not something we are suggesting being the frontrunners for.
“We have had people come to us over the past year asking if there is any other cheaper way to be buried in the cemetery.”
The council’s policy and finance committee has agreed re-used graves will cost 25 per cent less than a new one.
New graves currently cost £762 for Weston residents – and the price to re-use a grave will be £571.50.
But councillor Mark Canniford said: “I have a problem with this based on the fact that I don’t think it’s very savoury.
“I’m not in favour of re-using things people thought they had bought for life and because someone decided to change the rules you can have someone dumped on top of you.”
Ms Donald said ground for burial sites in the town is in short supply.
The Mercury reported last year how Dignity Funerals, which runs Weston Crematorium in Ebdon Road, warned the town could run out of burial spaces in three to four years.
Ms Donald added: “We will be using about 20 of the graves. But if the graves have memorials we won’t do anything with them. If they have memorials we won’t rip them down.
“The graves have been dug down a double depth for two burials and they only have one body buried there at the moment.
“They’ve not been purchased, they are not being taken back or anything like that.
“Sometimes graves have been used for people who are totally unrelated and that’s all we are doing.
“The people buying it will be told up front there is already someone in there.”