Funeral directors plea for land donator

WITH Royston cemetery close to capacity, funeral directors of the town have issued a plea to land owners to come forward and donate a plot that could be used for burials.

North Herts District Council announced in January that there would be no further full body burials in Royston Cemetery from April 1.

But last week they put back that deadline to January after Royston town councillors and members of the public expressed their disproval of the scheme.

The authority also said they were going to give time for land owners around Royston to come forward and donate a patch, though this would have to be at no extra cost to them.

This has caused the three funeral directors of the town to urge a landowner to come forward.

Andrew Fuller from Newlings of Royston said: “If there is a farmer or land owner out there, either in the town or the surrounding area, who could donate land then that would be ideal.

“We could even name it after them. I’m glad the council have said we can carry on for a bit longer and I would like to use this time to plea to generous land owners.”

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Jeremy Rule, who runs his own funeral managing business, agreed that land was needed but said there was no obvious patch in the town.

“At the moment there is no land I could think of that could be a solution within the town, but there might be something on the edge,” he said.

“Maybe something could be done along the lines of a planning gain as if it benefits the people of Royston there is more cause for planning permission.”

If alternative land isn’t found by January then full body burials will be made in the Wilbury Hills Cemetery in Letchworth, which is not served by public transport from Royston.

Nigel Anthony of Cecil Newling’s said that local people would find it hard to travel to Letchworth if they choose to get buried there in the first place.

“I’m Royston through-and-through and have no intention of leaving here so I want to be buried here to,” he said.

“There are generations buried here and it’s a shame this must be stopped if no mor eland is found. No one from Royston is going to want to be buried in a different town that is difficult to get to.”

Mr Fuller added: “I know people that have been brought up in Royston and want to be buried here. The people of the town have strong feelings about this and I sumpathise with them.”

Mr Rule said: “I could tell you of widows that visit graves three times a week because they are in walking distance, something they won’t be able to do if their loved ones are buried in a cemetery not served by public transport.

“I am pleased NHDC have seen some sense as it’s unrealistic to expect people to go to Letchworth.”

At a Royston Town Council meeting on Monday night, it was confirmed that the Royston Cemetery Working Party was working to find new grounds.

Cllr Lindsay Davidson, who was at the meeting, said: “The delay gives us more time and we are working hard to find new grounds. We have no patches in mind yet and we can’t say if any approaches have been made, but there is a chance we could find somewhere.

“The Town Council hasn’t got money to buy land so we are having to rely on people’s charity and good will to the town.”

Cllr Davidson also suggested that re-using old graves could be an option.

“At the moment the law stands that only in London are you able to re-use old graves,” she said.

“They have done for quite a long time but other parts of the country haven’t. When a grave reaches a certain age – 100 years or more – it can be re-used, and this would make things a lot easier for us.”