Residents of a Herefordshire town have demanded steps be taken to ensure people can still be buried there in future.

Ledbury town council’s environment and leisure committee last month said the town should not to provide any more burial space once its main cemetery in New Street, which dates from 1861, hits “full capacity”.

But this provoked an outcry locally, leading to a public meeting being called for February 15.


“Cemeteries owned and managed by parish councils are not self-funding, and money spent on them would not be earned back,” town mayor Coun Helen I’Anson told the meeting.

She and town clerk Angela Price indicated that space at the cemetery would be exhausted in “seven-and-a-half to eight” years.

County councillor Stef Simmons, in whose ward the cemetery lies, confirmed that larger local authorities are under no obligation to provide burial space either – though they must maintain those they own.

Meanwhile, Ledbury’s recently approved neighbourhood development plan did not address creating new burial grounds, which would require “stringent” evidence from environmental studies and the like, adding to the cost, Coun Simmons explained.


“And Ledbury is severely constrained in both land and funds.”

But several members of the two-dozen-strong audience insisted they still wished to be buried in the town.

Hereford Times: Ledbury's Victorian cemetery and chapelLedbury's Victorian cemetery and chapel (Image: Google Street View)

Steve Ellis said: “Surely, it’s about you, the town council, making provision for future burials in Ledbury, and we need to see who’s in favour of that.”

A vote in the room then backed unanimously a motion that the town council should explore further use of the existing cemetery, for example by creating a “scatter garden” for the ashes of those cremated, or an upright “columbarium” to store multiple urns of ash remains.

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Further motions that the council should seek funding for new cemetery within the parish, or that the existing cemetery be extended, were also backed, though less resoundingly.

Ms Price confirmed that the residents’ vote would form part of her report recommending the proposals which will be decided on at a full town council meeting next month.

But Coun Ewen Sinclair, one of the environment committee members who backed ceasing further cemetery provision, said Ledbury’s “precept” or council tax levy was £80 more than Hereford’s, so “too high already”.