Burial costs in East Staffordshire are to rise by £150 - but charges to bury under-16s have been scrapped.

Families now face paying 30 per cent more to bury their loved ones in the borough's two cemeteries in Rolleston and Stapenhill following a decision by councillors.

The new plan will also see more burials take place at weekends and on bank holidays, in keeping with the Muslim community's tradition of burying their loved ones 24 hours after death.

Delivering the report to councillors on the ruling cabinet committee at Burton Town Hall, the authority's manager of community and open spaces Michael Hovers said: "We are one of the few local authorities that actually charge for the burial of those under 16.

"In this report there is three recommendations, the first is for burial fees for under 16s to be removed and reduced to zero and small burial charges made for those children that are buried in Staffordshire cemeteries that have come from outside of East Staffordshire.

"The second recommendation is an increase of 30 per cent on the full cost recovery, with fees rising in line and charges policy."

A third recommendation was made by Mr Hovers, to remove the time limit placed on buying a grave surround or kerb set in the cemeteries.

At the moment, there is a limit of five or ten years, after which the family is contacted and required to pay a fee to renew the licence for another set period of time. The new proposition would see this limit removed, so there would be a single payment charge, without renewal.

East Staffordshire borough council are responsible for Stapenhill Cemetery
East Staffordshire borough council are responsible for Stapenhill Cemetery

This is the first new proposal reviewing burial costs at the two cemeteries since 1999, with prices only fluctuating in line with inflation.

A new system will now be implemented opening the cemetery from 9am until 1pm on weekend and on bank holidays.

The final part of the report will now go for extra consultation following talks with members of the Muslim community.

Rolleston cemetery will be one of the areas affected
Rolleston cemetery will be one of the areas affected

Councillor Colin Whittaker, who represents the Abbey ward, said: "I think it is a very detailed report, which has been needed for a while, there are some real positives in the report and burial charges for those under 16, I think is particularly good news as it is a very stressful time for the families involved.

"Because of the input from the community, we understand it is a difficult thing to reach a compromise on, but given the timescales we'll have further exchanges on that and hopefully give more evidence in that respect to the health and safety issues and can present a full case to discuss, and hopefully have more dialogue on that."

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Burial fees for children under the age of 16 will now be reduced from £120 to free of charge, with a 30 per cent increase for adult burials, from £502 to £652, with future annual fee increases to follow funeral inflation rates.

Among the other recommendations is that the cemetery opening times are amended to 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday, instead of 9am to 5pm; and to 9am to 1pm at weekends/bank holidays which is currently manned by an on-call officer only.

Councillor Greg Hall, representative of the Bagots ward, said: "I think it is a timely and important scheme. Part of what we do is to go through and review our pricing structure and where services are divided and obviously it has been a long time since cemeteries have been looked at, so it is good to see them get looked at in depth.

"I think the recommendations make sense from my point of view, I appreciate there will be further exchanges with those who have concerns, but on the whole I am very happy to support it."