PEOPLE buying graves decades in advance could be contributing to a borough’s shortage of burial space.
Fareham Borough Council believes it will run out of room to bury its dead in about 25 years if nothing is done.
And in the western wards the shortage has become more severe – the Holly Hill Cemetery only has six plots left out of 1,172.
But at its meeting last night, the council’s ruling executive agreed to look at plans for a new cemetery on the Coldeast site in Sarisbury Green at a cost of £400,000.
It is also considering using room in double depth graves, which would create a further 785 spaces.
Council leader, Cllr Sean Woodward said: ‘Pre-selling of graves is where we’ve run into problems, particularly in Holly Hill.
‘Only last week someone was laid to rest in a grave that was bought in 1971.’
He added that both Portsmouth and Gosport councils have stopped the practice.
But Cllr Connie Hockley said: ‘If people want to buy them, I think they should have the choice.’
The council also considered new rules for its gardens of remembrance. As reported in The News, grieving relatives had been upset by the council threatening to remove tributes on health and safety grounds.
The new rules include bans on lanterns, wind chimes and ornaments on spikes or hooks, as well as placing size limits on floral tributes and solar lights of 20cm.
Councillor Leslie Keeble, in charge of streetscene matters, said: ‘One of the articles there was a huge spike, like Neptune’s trident with a lantern on the end. If some youth had got hold of that, you can imagine them skewering someone with it.
‘The council has continued to deal with matters about ornaments in a sensitive way, inviting people to move or reposition items before taking any action.’
He added that any removed items would be kept for three months to allow them to be collected by family members.
The executive approved the new rules as per the report.