Coffins could be stacked to save space in cemetery

Greenacres Innovations burial modules which may be used at Bourne cemetery to extend the lcemetery's useful life'Photo: MSMP Greenacres
Greenacres Innovations burial modules which may be used at Bourne cemetery to extend the lcemetery's useful life'Photo: MSMP Greenacres
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A revolutionary cemetery system in which coffins are stacked is being considered for use in Bourne to solve the shortage of plots.

Bourne Town Council, which runs the cemetery in South Road, has been seeking land for a new cemetery since 2007 and has warned burial plots will 
run out within five years.

With land expensive or unavailable, the council is now looking at alternative ways to solve the problem.

On Tuesday, Bourne town clerk Nelly Jacobs and Bourne town councillor Trevor Holmes visited Walsall Burial Park in Staffordshire to view Greenacre Innovations’ new space-saving design.

The design by David Spiers allows for up to four coffins to be buried in one plot, where traditionally just one would be.

The solid sides of the structure’s frame also allows for graves to be placed closer together.

Mrs Jacobs said: “If we can’t get more land we need to look at ways to make our cemetery last longer.

“This system might be able to extend the life of our cemetery for 10 years and by then the Government might make a decision about reusing graves.”

Mrs Jacobs said reusing graves would release about one third of the spaces in the cemetery.

The Greenacre Innovations system could also allow the council to use parts of the existing cemetery near a small stream which current regulations prevent them from using.

The town council would set a policy on whether strangers could share a stack.

Mrs Jacobs said she thinks a two deep system would be best for Bourne, to be used mainly for couples and other relatives.

A report from the visit will be given to the town council’s amenities committee on October 22.

Mrs Jacobs said the town council has also approached South Kesteven District Council about why developer money, allocated for community projects, can not be directed towards providing more cemetery space.

Mrs Jacobs said: “Everyone thinks about education and health but no one thinks about dying. At this rate we are all going to have to live forever.”

Bourne Town Council is not alone in facing a shortage of cemetery space. In a recent survey carried out by BBC Local Radio of 700 burial authorities across England, of which 358 responded, a quarter said they will run out of space within 10 years. Nearly half said they will run out in 20 years.

Earlier in the year the town council said graves in Bourne’s cemetery should be reused to ensure people can continue to be buried in the town.

Changes to burial laws are currently being considered by the government amid warnings by the Cemetery Research Group at the University of York of a national burial crisis.

On average 30 people are laid to rest in Bourne Cemetery each year while an average of 32 urns of cremated ashes are buried.

About 10,000 people have been buried at Bourne Cemetery, with the majority being coffins.