Body burials may stop as North Herts cemeteries fill up

CASKET burials in two cemeteries may be banned or the plot price increased as both sites reach their maximum capacity.

The proposals have been put forward by North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) as both Hitchin’s and Baldock’s cemeteries are filling up.

The council estimates that Baldock cemetery will be full in roughly 10 years and Hitchin’s in around six.

Once these sites are full NHDC proposes that the Wilbury Hills Cemetery, in Letchworth GC, be adapted as a district wide facility.

Councillor Peter Burt, NHDC portfolio holder for environment, said: “Due to reducing available space at Hitchin, Baldock and Royston cemeteries, it was agreed by NHDC’s Cabinet in September 2010 to adopt Wilbury Hills in Letchworth as the cemetery for North Hertfordshire.

“The award-winning facility has been designed to provide much needed long-term capacity for the district’s residents.

“We understand some residents may be concerned about being buried in a different location to their relatives already buried at the local cemeteries.

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“In order to increase the longevity of these local cemeteries it is proposed that we restrict their use to the interment of ashes only.

“Officers will work with individual families as and when required so as to meet their wishes in the best way possible within the context of the diminishing finances available.

“This is not a decision that the council has taken lightly.

“A great deal of thought has gone into how we can best manage this situation while maintaining a reliable service for our residents.”

The proposals will be discussed at the NHDC Baldock and district commitee meeting, held in the town’s community centre on Monday and the Hitchin and district committee meeting the following day in St Mark’s Church Hall.