Costs of burials in Northumberland '300% higher than a decade ago' meeting hears

Families are having to take their own strimmers to the cemetery to cut the grass around their loved ones’ graves, it has been claimed.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 01 July, 2019, 13:59
Tweedmouth Cemetery, Berwick

This assertion came as it was also revealed that burial charges in Northumberland County Council-run cemeteries are now almost three times higher than they were 10 years ago.

And compared to five years ago, the current cost of buying a plot and being buried there is up more than 150 per cent.

The figures were disclosed in response to a question by Coun Georgina Hill, the ward member for Berwick East, at the full council meeting on June 26.

Coun Glen Sanderson, the cabinet member for local services, said that at the county council’s 23 cemeteries, today’s charge for a plot and burial was £2,016, up from £1,285 five years ago and £710 10 years ago.

“We are not the most expensive, however, and we have no plans to increase the price next financial year,” he added.

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“Some of the smaller cemeteries that are run by parish and town councils don’t have the overheads that we have in terms of maintenance, future investment, drainage and so on.

“The cost at parish and town-council cemeteries is lower, because they don’t have as many burials as we do.”

Coun Hill responded: “Do you share my concerns that given the costs for people to be buried that residents in Berwick are having to bring their own strimmers to cut round their loved ones’ graves and that my colleague Coun Roughead – Tweedmouth Cemetery falls in his patch – is using his own small schemes to put in an additional tap?”

In reply, Coun Sanderson said that he couldn’t address those specific issues as neither councillor had raised them with him before, but he continued: “The cost of maintenance is of course very high and we do the very best we can.

“Generally our cemeteries are kept in very good condition, much to the pleasure of those relatives who have to visit them.”