Running out of burial plots in Pendeen
Running out of burial plots in Pendeen is part of a Cornwall and UK problem and the solutions are not easy to find or fund, as I have discovered!
Death is not a subject any of us are keen to discuss. Many of us do not even discuss with our nearest and dearest what funeral arrangements we would prefer. Whilst many people are now cremated, some people and families prefer to be buried for all sorts of reasons. I know because it was a strong wish of my mother associating cremation with ‘burning in hell’.
When I was contacted recently by the Chair of Pendeen Parochial Church Council (PCC) and told that there were only 8 burial places left, I decided to do some research. The first thing I discovered was that neither Councils nor Churches have any statutory duty (or obligations) to provide places for people to be buried. The only exception is if someone dies destitute but has left a very clear wish against cremation then the local Authority must bury the person although they are under no obligation to follow wishes on location.
The second thing I discovered is that the Church of England, Nationally, has taken the decision not to provide any new burial grounds or new additions to current cemeteries. I thought the cavalry might be arriving when this very topic (Cemetery Capacity for Cornwall) appeared on the agenda of a Council Committee I was due to attend. I have provided links to the papers before that meeting and you will discover that the options are not easy to take forward and, as money is involved, all will likely want it to be someone else that takes the lead!
So, what’s to be done? I have met with members of the local PCC and Pendeen Cemeteries committee and Cornwall’s Bereavement Services Manager. We have pondered land that is in local church ownership or control or owned by Cornwall Council but with most of the land we talked about, ownership was not clear cut, in as far as deeds being available. So, some research is going on.
At the meeting I learnt that even if tomorrow we found a piece of land we thought appropriate and FREE then the Environment Agency would have to be paid to carry out tests and these take at least 6 months (possibly 12) as they have to check and sample at different times of the year. I have yet to discover the charge. It therefore seems to me that if the people of Pendeen want to have a local burial facility then we probably need to start testing 2 areas of land, in the hope that at least 1 will be suitable.
I suppose I have hit the key question that needs answering before embarking on work that takes time and money (but no-one is offering money yet): how strongly do people living in Pendeen feel about being buried in Pendeen? Hopefully you will let me know by emailing me, writing to me or coming to see me at my next drop-in surgery (see home page for details).