GRAVES less than a century old could be re-used such is current shortage of plots in Burton.
Cemeteries are said to be keen on the idea of re-opening graves that are more than 75-years-old to be used again as they look for an answer to the current crisis.
The Mail reported in July that in a bid to ease the crisis in East Staffordshire, council chiefs were to consider using current graves which were not up to capacity, which could make room for nearly 2,000 burials.
As a result of that and plans to open a 400-plot piece of land that had previously been set aside in the event of a major emergency such as a pandemic, the council said it was currently in a ‘relatively strong position in regards to future burial space’.
But Geoffrey Willett, who is chairman of Brizlincote Parish Council and also a church canon, said that although the cemetery closest to his parish, Stapenhill, had ‘20 or 30 years left’ due to reserved land currently being used as allotments of Scalpcliffe Road, he admitted he was concerned for other areas.
He said: “Churchyards are getting full. Winshill as it stands is very full for example and in South Derbyshire, Gresley is pretty well full - several of them are.”
In South Derbyshire, just 19 burial plots remain at Church Gresley Cemetery, while the situation is also becoming desperate in Etwall, where the parish council is hopeful the possibility of using part of a cricket pitch could be explored to meet the dire need for new burial space in the village.
Norman Ireland, who sits on the village’s parish council, said: “I think it has all gone. What space there is has been pre-bought, I don’t think there is any other space left.”
South Derbyshire District Council said it was actively seeking ways to increase space and pointed out there are 188 spaces in Newhall.
Cemetery managers up and down the country have expressed their desire to re-use graves that are more than 75-years-old as many are beginning to run out of alternative options.
But Canon Willett said that revisiting graves not even a century old had the potential to cause upset and could be met with disapproval.
He said: “I think 75 years is a bit on the short side. If it was well over 100 years then it could be looked at, when the immediate descendants would have died. It would be less insensitive. We will probably have to re-use ground where it is feasible.”