Anger as cost of burials soars 50%

PUBLISHED: 17:48 30 September 2014

Archant

Council caretakers of Sidmouth Cemetery have suggested residents planning for their deaths should consider being cremated to 'keep costs down' - following a 50 per cent hike in the price of burial plots.

The advice was issued after a couple, who want to one day be laid to rest together, expressed shock at how much the amount has soared in just a year.

Evan and Beverley Williams, married for 49 years, have been planning their funerals to spare their family the anguish.

Mr Williams, 72, was told in 2013 that the price of a double burial plot was £565 and the cost was not expected to change by more than 10 per cent. It has now risen to £850.

The rise in Sidmouth and East Devon is in line with other places across the country, according to the district council.

“I expected it to go up a bit, but not 50 per cent – how is that for inflation?” said Mr Williams.

“How can they justify that massive increase?

“It’s my wife’s idea to be buried together. It means a lot to her.

“We thought we would get things sorted so the family don’t have to worry.

“It’s going to happen to all of us – we want to make it as pain-free for our family when the time comes.”

Mrs Williams chose a plot next to the cemetery’s footpath and the couple were told the cost would be relatively stable.

The prices in municipal cemeteries are set by East Devon District Council.

A council spokesman said it had faced a reduction in Government grants and set the charges after comparing them with similar authorities across the country. The cost of exclusive rights of burial rose from £622 in 2013 to £850 in 2014.

The spokesman added: “£850 buys a plot for 50 years and permits two body burials and four ashes burials.

“It also allows the family to erect a headstone on the plot.

“The council pays for the maintenance of the cemetery and grass around the plot for the next 50 years. There are ways of keeping the cost down, including cremation.”

● What do readers think about the price hike? Email sidmouth.letters@archant.co.uk

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