Graveyard policy considered

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Factors such as an aging population and the life-span of local council cemeteries will be taken into consideration by the ACBC Council as it works to reach a decision on the pre-purchase of grave plots.

Banbridge residents are concerned that under the move to harmonise services from the legacy council areas, they may no longer be permitted to buy a plot in advance.

At the Environmental Services Committee meeting on June 2, it was agreed a draft policy should be drawn up for consideration. A council spokesperson said: “Any decision to change existing policies within the legacy council areas or how to progress with this matter will be made by the full council.”

The total number and available number of plots at each cemetery, along with annual burial figures and expected life-span of each cemetery are among the factors that will be taken into consideration when determining if a cemetery is appropriate to offer Exclusive Rights of Burial.

The council says, it is felt that in some cases it may be necessary to suspend ERB if the life-span of available cemetery space drops below a predetermined value.

Consideration will also be given to limiting the number of ERB ,, as an increasingly older population is putting pressure on burial space provision. All cemeteries have a finite area of burial space available, and unrestricted advance plot purchases place undue pressure on available grave space.

In the past sale of exclusive rights of burial has resulted in an entire year allocation being sold in a matter of days.

Factors such as what area of any cemetery should be made available, along with ensuring that all sections of the community are provided for, will also be considered along with the length of time a deed may be granted for, a maximum number of plots that can be sold to any individual and who the ERB can be sold to - should it be residents only.

A proposed fee structure will also be weighed up.