Cemetery funding deal imminent, says town council

Alnwick Cemetery.
Alnwick Cemetery.

Fairer funding of cemeteries across the county could be in place by the start of the next financial year in April.

Last week, the Gazette reported on concerns raised about increased charges at Amble Cemetery over the Christmas and New Year period.

And in our comment column on the letters pages, we raised the issue of unfair funding across Northumberland.

Currently, residents of the likes of Alnwick and Amble, where cemeteries are administered by the town councils, are essentially paying twice – for their own town’s service via the precept paid to the town council and for county council-run cemeteries elsewhere via council tax.

But now, the Gazette has learned that it is hoped that a deal will be agreed for town and parish councils to receive a rebate.

David Farrar, cemetery committee chairman for Alnwick Town Council, said: “I can reassure Gazette readers that Alnwick Town Council takes seriously the unfairness in cemetery funding across the county.

“We are working with Amble, Hexham and other parish councils who run their own cemeteries to get a refund of the amount by which we have subsidised the cost of county-administered cemeteries, including the costs of previous years, and we are now close to an agreement.

“Our expectation is that from April, Alnwick and Denwick householders will be paying only for Alnwick and Denwick residents’ use of the town cemetery.”

The current cost of burial, including rights, at Alnwick is around £680 to £805 depending on the depth of grave, while at Amble, the cost is £770, including burial rights and interment.