On Tuesday night, Crowborough Town Council decided to increase charges for the Herne Road Cemetery.
Councillors on the Sport, Recreation and Cemetery Committee received a detailed report, which analysed information from adjacent and similar councils in Sussex, as well as looked at the the Town Council’s own accounts for the year April 2015 to March 2016.
Taking into consideration staff costs, the review concluded Crowborough Town Council was making a loss of about £12,000 per year on providing burial services. The report said it costs around £17,000 per year for ground staff to maintain the cemetery and charges have remained unchanged for the last five years.
The report argued the new charging structure will bring Crowborough into line with other local authorities. The largest percentage increase is for the interment of ashes, which will increase from £110 to £175 (59%) from 1st April 2017.
When a grave is ‘purchased’ this refers to the exclusive right of burial in a grave space. The ownership of the land remains with the council.
Charges for people living outside the parish will be rationalised, so that in future they will pay twice the parishioner rate in most respects. There was a discussion at the meeting about the charge that should be made to transfer grave ownership to another person, as well as the charge for council staff to search burial records. At present no change is made for these services. The time it takes to search records can vary enormously. In the end it was agreed these charges should be the same for both parishioners and non-parishioners alike (£75 for Transfer of Exclusive Right and £25 Record Search).
The proposals were passed by a majority vote of councillors – with three voting against. The charges relate to Herne Road Cemetery – further consideration will need to take place regarding the costs and charges for interment at the new cemetery at Summersales next to Forest Fold Baptist Church.
You can see the report that went to the SRC Committee, attached to the Agenda on the Town Council’s website (item 8.1): www.crowboroughtowncouncil.gov.uk. Appendix 3 shows the current charges and the new charges for 2017-18.