Town council wants to reuse older graves in Bourne cemetery

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Graves in Bourne’s cemetery should be reused to ensure people can continue to be buried in the town, according to the town council.

It has been seeking land for a new cemetery since 2007 and has warned burial plots in the town’s South Road cemetery will now run out within five years.

Now the council is calling for a change in the law so plots can be reused.

Town clerk Nelly Jacobs said: “Something has got to be done. If we can’t find new land to bury people we have got to do something else.

The town council has proposed that graves could be used again 75 or 100 years after the last burial.

Mrs Jacobs said: “One of these days were are just going to be full.

“The government have been reviewing the situation for months but something needs to be done.

“After 100 years the chance that you find any remains is very slim. The option would be to just bury them deeper.”

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.

If the law changes the town council would look to reuse graves which do not have headstones, starting with the oldest graves in the yard.

Mrs Jacobs said: “I think if we give people the choice of going into a grave which is a 100 years old, or older, where there are no remains left, or going into a grave somewhere else I think they will happily accept what we are looking to offer.”

About 10,000 people have been buried at Bourne Cemetery. Most were bodies in coffins, with a small number of ashes in caskets.

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