Penarth Town Council is to offer to extend the existing leases (known as “Exclusive Rights for Burial”) on grave plots in Penarth Cemetery.
From 1903 local residents and families had been able to purchase – from Penarth Urban District Council – 99-year leases giving them, or their descendants, exclusive rights for burial in designated grave plots.
Subsequently Penarth Town Council – the successor of the Urban District Council – released new grave plots on shorter 75-year leases .
Now it’s being proposed that on those graves where the lease is due to expire shortly, Penarth Town Council will write to the leaseholders to ask them whether they wish to extend the lease for a further period of 30 years at a cost of £400 per renewal .
If the a lease is not renewed, and the council’s offer of an extension is not taken up, the grave in question automatically reverts to Penarth Town Council as the burial authority.
Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) asked how many people in the next 5 years might be likely to take up an extended lease.
Victoria Lawrence, the council’s principal venues and facilities officer ,said there were about 20 grave leaseholders to whom the council would be writing shortly .
She pointed out that some of the older (99-year) leases had already expired – and that in some cases it had not proved possible to contact family members or friends to obtain a decision.
It has now been agreed that the council will write to the existing leaseholders at the earliest opportunity . This will enable the council to “stay in contact” with the grave owners. The council will also inform owners that although there might already be 2 or 3 interments already buried within a single grave, there would still be space for 4 to 6 cremated remains above .
Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) asked whether there were any graves in the cemetery “which don’t have any owners or nobody claims them ” . He was told that there weren’t any .
Councillors were told that a couple of empty graves had been found for which the lease had expired but there was “nobody in there” .
There were also other unused graves which were empty but were still being held for the for the eventual use of the existing leaseholders.