CHESTERFIELD: A grave problem for our cemeteries

Spital cemetary.
Spital cemetary.

A graveyard in Chesterfield is likely to run out of space within the next 15 years, the Derbyshire Times has learned.

Come 2028, Spital cemetery could be completely full.

The news has emerged amid national concerns about the lack of land left to bury the dead.

Tim Morris, chief executive at the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, has controversially called for graves more than three-quarters of a century old to be reused.

He said: “We need new legislation to allow the reuse of old, abandoned graves – turning the clock back to pre-Victorian times when it was common practice.”

He said this would involve lifting out coffins from graves more than 75-years-old and burying them deeper in the same plot, leaving more space for an additional burial on top.

However, Chesterfield Borough Council has insisted it is not currently considering such a drastic move.

A spokesman for the authority said: “There is legislation already in place which permits grave reuse in London where cemeteries have already run out of space.

“As we currently have enough space without reusing graves, that is not an option at present.”

The spokesman added: “Our bereavement services team will be producing a new cemeteries strategy in the near future, with cemetery space as one of the criteria, although this is at an early stage at the moment. The strategy will look at ways to manage our cemeteries to maximise the space for burials.”

Grade II listed Spital cemetery was the first public graveyard to be opened in Chesterfield in 1857.

On Facebook, we asked if you think graves more than 75-years-old should be reused. Here are your views...

Jenni Griffiths said: “Certainly not, how disrespectful!”

Lucy Broadbent said: “I have family graves over 70-years-old and it’s not nice to think they would be shared with someone else. The only people they should share with is their own family at request.”

Donna Lee Young said: “No it shouldn’t be allowed. I wouldn’t want to be buried with a total stranger.”

Dave Lee Jackson said: “If a grave hasn’t been visited in 50 years. Clearly no-one cares so it could get reused. If the grave is over 100-years-old, chances are there are no living relatives left who care, so that could get reused.”

Hannah Elizabeth Brinkworth said: “We buried my nan last week and the thought of the grave being reused in 75 years makes me sick to the stomach. Her great grandchildren will still be around in 75 years!”

Garry Shannon said: “Cremation is the way forward.”

Paul Eggleston said: “What a completely thoughtless idea. Just because a generation may have died out doesn’t mean that people are forgotten about.”

Rachelle Royle said: “It can’t be done. I own a plot and I hold the deeds to that grave and it can’t ever be opened without my permission.”