Cemetery Provision on Fairfield – Public Consultation

Background

Prior to the formation of Fairfield as an independent parish (FPC) in 2013, residents of Fairfield were considered residents of Stotfold and subject to Stotfold resident charges with respect to burial and interment services. This applied for a two year period. As we no longer qualify as residents we are required to pay triple the resident fees. Similarly, if approaching Letchworth, North Herts District Council (NHDC) require quadruple fees as non-residents.

Consultation

Whilst many towns and villages have full burial options available some offer only a ‘Garden of Remembrance’, others include the ability to inter ashes but no burials. The current national figures suggest that the preference has moved away from burial with 76% choosing to be cremated. Since 2013 the number of Fairfield residents buried in Stotfold is low ( less than 5) however since Fairfield has no facilities of our own, we are looking to consult residents on the matter. Considering all land ownership restrictions within Fairfield, Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) and FPC have identified a suitable site adjacent to the current hospital burial grounds at the end of Eliot Way/ West Drive. It has mature trees, is discreet and respectful making it an ideal location for quiet contemplation.

Options

  1. No cemetery facilities within Fairfield. This would require residents to cover all costs associated with their choice of interment/burial outside of the parish. Negotiation with Stotfold Town Council and NHDC for a reduced fee level could be pursued but with no guarantee of success.
  2. Garden of Remembrance. A quiet area with the option to host engraved plaques. Scattering of ashes would be allowed with landowner approval. Straightforward to establish as no planning permission is required and no additional agencies involved.
  3. Garden of Remembrance with Interment of Ashes. With the interment of ashes (burial in an urn) the guidelines are the same as those for the burial of the body but with few rules around placement and depth. An exhumation licence would be required to subsequently move the ashes. For the creation of the site, planning permission is required so this would likely take 1-2 years to make available.
  4. Full Burial Ground (including Options 2 and 3). This would likely take up to 5 years to make available as several other authorities need to give approval. At this time, it is hard to say how many graves would be available at such a site so this may not be a long-term solution as land availability within the Parish is clearly limited.

Considerations

It is worth highlighting that as the range of facilities increases so likely does the amount of people accessing the site both for the service of laying to rest and visitation year-round. For example, with burial services there is often a graveside element attended by family and friends.  If an area is to be created there will ongoing costs of maintenance and it will introduce the risk of undesirable use as a meeting place with the associated traffic and potential for anti-social behaviour, noise and litter. Parking and access needs of the site will need to be assessed depending  on the preferred option’.

How to Take Part

Printed versions of the consultation are included in this month’s Fairfield Matters. Please pull this out and complete the form and post it in one of three boxes situated at Tesco, Fairfield Community Hall or The Orchard Restaurant. Closing date is November 30.

We accept that people within households may have different views. If you would like an additional form the document can be downloaded from this link. There is no limit on the length of the response submitted however only one response per Fairfield Parish resident will be accepted.  Forms submitted without name/address information will be disregarded, as will all submissions with duplicate names and addresses.