Grave concern over council cemetery plot policy meeting

Banbridge Public Cemetery. INBL18-220EB
Banbridge Public Cemetery. INBL18-220EB

The policy of pre-booking plots in the area’s public cemeteries could be about to change under the new ABC super-council.

Banbridge residents over the age of 60 can currently predetermine their cemetery plot.

In Craigavon, you can also buy a plot in advance, if the ground is available.

But that policy currently doesn’t apply in Armagh where the undertaker or family member purchase the plot after the deceased has passed away.

The policy which will apply for the new Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is due to be discussed tonight (June 2).

But a council spokesperson has said there is no guarantee the current Banbridge policy will continue and “all services may be subject to change in due course.”

Alderman Arnold Hatch, Chair of the Environmental Services Committee,has said he would like to see the Banbridge arrangement available throughout the entire new Borough as there is a feeling that some residents may want to prepare in advance and have their affairs in order.

Current policy for Banbridge states that Banbridge residents aged 60 and over are able to pre-purchase one single non-transferable plot in a council-owned cemetery located within the legacy council area.

A council spokesperson said: “At present the policy in operation in Banbridge, is in place, however with the establishment of the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and the harmonization of services from the legacy councils all services may be subject to change in due course.

“Current costs for purchase of plot are £225 for residents and £553 for non-residents. Interment is £241 for residents and £578 for non-residents.

“These costs have recently been reviewed and are effective in the Banbridge service area from 1 April 2015.”

The council noted that each individual has different circumstances surrounding the purchase of a cemetery plot, and so in certain situations it may be beneficial to the individual to pre-purchase, provided they meet the criteria.

The policy on plots is due for further discussion at the next environmental services committee on June 2.

A council spokesperson said: “This is a public meeting and this item will not be confidential.”