BURIAL RIGHTS We have been asked on a few occasions recently if there are any grave spaces available in the older parts of the cemetery. We are aware of some but there are others where many years ago families reserved a space for their future use. These reservations have rarely been renewed however legally this must be done if you wish to retain the space. We plan to carry out a full audit soon to ascertain where there are vacant plots available which can then be used. Many people are still unaware of changes in the burial law due to concerns around lack of interment space in many city areas. The Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977 gave local authorities’ power to grant members of the public the exclusive rights of burial for a grave in a public cemetery only for a set period of time rather than ‘in perpetuity’. In general this has become for a period of 25- 50 years; Amble West Cemetery is 50 years. [Note that the grave itself is ‘never’ owned by someone who has purchased the burial rights; the land owner still retains ownership of the land.] Having the “burial rights” legally prevents the land owner removing a memorial stone or reopening the grave and burying another body in that grave without the owner’s permission. A ‘burial right’ is a legal document which ceases with a death but it can be transferred in a will; if it is not then another family member can complete the necessary documentation and pay the fee to have this done. This change in the previous law of grants ‘in perpetuity’ are important to those who held them. For any such space purchased before 1st April 1974 those ‘perpetuity’ rights have ended. Legally, if family wish to retain the right to that space, they must renew it for a further term beyond the 99 years from the date of purchase. If the right is not renewed then all the entitlements attached cease to apply. Unlike cities, Amble West Cemetery has spare ground available, so grave spaces would not be reused in the foreseeable future. However if there is only a single burial in your family’s double plot and you wish to use it in the future then you must remember to check when the plot was first acquired and update if necessary.