Call for change on buying grave plots

Jim Speers. Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons
Jim Speers. Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons
  • Armagh currently “out of step” with neighbours
  • Councillor wants officials to revisit policy
  • Red tape blamed for disrupting plans by elderly

Moves are afoot to harmonise the super council’s policy on buying grave plots - with Armagh currently out of step with its neighbours.

Policy at Armagh is that the undertaker or family member purchase the plot after the deceased has passed away, while in Craigavon you can buy a plot in advance if the ground is available.

This is a public meeting and this item will not be confidential

Council spokesperson

However, many residents want to prepare in advance and get their affairs in order, but have come up against council bureaucracy, according to Ulster Unionist Jim Speers.

Mr Speers has called for the council to revisit this policy and change it to allow people to be able to buy their own plot in advance of death.

He said people should be entitled to purchase their own plot and get their affairs in order.

The Richhill man said he had been approached by a number of older people who had wanted to buy a plot in advance of death but had hit red tape.

A council spokesperson said the policy on plots is due for discussion at the environmental services committee on June 2. “This is a public meeting and this item will not be confidential,” she said.

Current policy for Craigavon states, “Graves may be purchased directly from Kernan Cemetery or via your undertaker. Plots are only sold at interment at which time titleholders may purchase up to three plots allowing for the equivalent of a maximum of nine burials.”

Plots are dug to nine feet and will allow for up to three interments of a standard sized coffin. The cemetery office usually requires two working days notice for the preparation of the burial plot.

When a grave is purchased, the purchaser’s name and address is entered in to the register as titleholder for the specified plot and they receive a title deed certificate. The titleholder of the burial plot is then conferred the right to up to three internments (burials) per plot.

Burial costs range from the right lease of 100 years for a resident at £236.50 and £605 for a non-resident.

The grave opening fee is £209 for residents and £484 for non-residents.

A yearly maintenance agreement costs £22.50 for residents and £45 for non-residents.

The cemeteries are laid out on the ‘lawn system’.