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Cemetery plots could be full within a decade
WORCESTER could run out of plots for burials in the next decade, it has emerged.
New figures reveal that the city’s largest burial ground, Astwood Cemetery, in Astwood Road, currently has 50,000 people buried on its grounds, but only has space for 700 more.
The cemetery conducts between 60 and 70 burials every year and Worcester City Council estimates space on the site will run out in about 10 years’ time.
Planners are now looking to increase the area around the cemetery in a bid to extend the space for the future.
David Sutton, service manager for a cleaner and green city at the council, said: “Worcester City Council currently has approximately 10 years’ burial space remaining at current rates of usage.
“We are working on options for using publicly-owned land adjacent to our existing Astwood Cemetery site, which would provide burial space for at least another 40 years.”
Just 10 per cent of deaths in the city result in burial, with the other 90 per cent of people choosing to be cremated, a significantly lower figure than the national average of 25 per cent of deaths leading to burial, rather than cremation.
Some local authority cemeteries exhume the remains of people who have been buried for at least 75 years and bury them deeper to put a fresh coffin on top.
They then add the name of the new person to the headstone already there or add a new plaque.
The city council said it was unaware of this happening outside inner London and was confident it would be able to expand the cemetery so was not currently exploring it as an option.
However, one charity is tackling the problems of burial grounds running out by providing land that can still be used, earn money and even cultivated after the burial plots are full.
Westall Park Woodland Burial at Holberrow Green, near Redditch, is a Natural Death Centre-run site and provides eco-friendly burials and memorials by offering bio-degradable plaques as opposed to headstones, bio-degradable coffins, and trees and benches as memorials, on land which will be later be returned to nature, without land leases.
Amy Tolley, manager at the site, said: “Not many people know that these natural burial grounds are around, so we have thousands of plots available and won’t be running out any time soon.
“It’s environmentally friendly and people enjoy visiting as it doesn’t feel like a morbid cemetery. It’s nice and uplifting.”
Other options include being buried at sea, with people also choosing to be honoured – even if they are cremated – by including their ashes in memorabilia like jewellery, trees, fireworks and even tattoos.
To contact Astwood Cemetery for more information on future and current burial plots, call 01905 22633 or e-mail bereavementser email@example.com, or to contact Westall Park Woodland Burial, call Amy Tolley on 01386 792806, or visit naturaldeath.org.uk for more information on natural burials.
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