Land shortfall prompts call for crematorium
This is the headline in the last issue of the Berwickshire about the need for a Borders Crematorium and Huttonian reproduces the article in full below at the request of a bloggee Morbid of Mordington (name and address not suplied)A CHRONIC shortage of land at many Borders cemeteries has prompted a study into the possibility of a crematorium being built in the region. It has also resulted in a plea to benevolent landowners to consider selling sites for burial ground extensions to Scottish Borders Council, which has statutory responsibility for 147 cemeteries, many of which have long since reached capacity.But any transaction will have to be at a knock-down price because the council's bereavement services department has just £80,000 in its current capital budget to buy land for that purpose.The seriousness of the situation was conveyed in a shock report to councillors this week - Kelso and Coldstream being the most immediately in need of new land."The cemetery division is in desperate need to acquire land for cemetery extensions in the Kelso and Coldstream areas or we will be in a position where we have no space left to bury the local residents of these communities," said Mr Mathison, the council's bereavement services officer.There has been increasing concern in Coldstream about the lack of available spaces in Lennel Cemetery and after being contacted by a number of residents Coldstream Community Council contacted Scottish Borders Council in May this year to ask how many spaces were available in Lennel cemetery and were told that there were 60 lairs left that would give a life expectancy of two to three years.Rev Jim Watson also wrote to the council on behalf of Coldstream Parish Church, St Marys and All Souls at Lennel and St Marys at Kelso expressing concern at the lack of space at the local cemeteriesIn the report before SBC's executive this week the number of spaces at Lennel is down to 24. The number of burials in a year was estimated in 2003 at 15 but that figure dropped to 9 last year, but either way the cemetery is likely to be completely full in less than two years.Replying to Coldstream Community Council, Mr Mathison asked if they knew of any land available for a new extension or a completely new cemetery, as extending the present cemetery may be difficult because there is woodland on one side, water works on the other, the River Tweed to the south and pipeworks under the field on the opposite side of the road that would restrict works. In his reply to Rev Watson Mr Mathison explained how many lairs were now available and that such was the pressure on land that they were looking at putting together a business case for a crematorium in the Borders, something that has been talked about for over twenty years but the costs involved have been prohibitive. Consultants have been appointed and the council is now waiting for their report.Suggestions that the council inquire about the woodland area up to Lennel are being followed up and community councillors were also keen to incorporate a woodland burial area too, if possible.Other Berwickshire cemeteries with less than ten years remaining before they will need extended or new ground found are Edrom (5 years) and Eyemouth (8 years).Last year there were around 1,400 registered deaths in the Borders and 900 of them were interred in local burial grounds or cemeteries.With few exceptions, the remainder of 500 were cremated at Edinburgh's three crematoria at Morton Hall, Seafield and Warrender. Some families living in the eastern Borders chose the Cowpen crematorium at Blyth, 12 miles north of Newcastle.Highlighting the need for a local crematorium, Mr Mathison said:"It now merits serious consideration, not only because of the pressure of space in our cemeteries, but because it offers choice to people whose interment can no longer be guaranteed in their own communities."He said no particular site had been earmarked for the crematorium and he admitted its location would be a contentious issue."The feedback from the past is that no-one wants to live near a crematorium, but there are legal requirements which mean it cannot be built within 200 yards of residential properties."Mr Mathison said he has spoken to individual funeral directors and the consensus was that they favoured a Borders crematorium."I am told it would have practical benefits for undertakers because of the time taken to travel from the Borders to Edinburgh. If there was a local facility, they would be able carry out a burial on the same day."He also stressed the economic benefits which would accrue.
06 October 2005
So there we are. Local Landowners step forward please and let us have some land for a Borders Oven facility-£80,000 could be yours. Hutton Think Tank has been asked to provide an attractive name for the Crematorium: 'The Reivers Return'
is the current favourite and as for a slogan 'These are the Ashes the Aussies will never get' is at present in the front runner position.