Sheffield Council takes action as concern cemeteries are ‘rapidly’ running out of space
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Abid Hussain asked the council to tackle the problem at the latest full council meeting, saying space was depleting at an “alarming rate”.
He said: “Death is a very sombre moment, a sensitive moment and an emotional moment for any family so it is quite alarming that I bring this issue to you having been informed that elected members and officers have been aware of this for quite some time.
“You will know that burial facilities across Sheffield are depleting at a very rapid rate, a very alarming rate. It’s [especially bad] for the Muslim community.
“Officers repeatedly promised this would be in the local plan. When will we see it?
“Please look into your emotions, imagine turning up to bury a loved one to find there is no space. What progress has already been made?”
Councillor Richard Williams, chair of the communities committee, said bereavement services appointed a temporary officer this month to help develop a cremation, cemetery and burial strategy for the whole city.
He said an upcoming consultation for this strategy will lay out the council’s aspirations for the service over the next five to 10 years including burial provision.
The Tinsley cemetery has already closed to new burials due to space. The communities committee investigated the possibility of expanding the provision in this area but found the proposed land was “completely unsuitable”. It is now exploring whether other options are available there.
Coun Williams said the new officer will lead on the work, liaising with property services to establish what land is available for cemetery development and they will report progress to his committee which the public can attend or watch via the webcast.
The council estimates there is around five years of burial space before capacity is reached in some cemeteries and up to 30 years in others.
“I can only stress to you that this is a priority for our committee, that is why we are putting extra resources in,” Coun Williams said. “I acknowledge it is a sensitive issue for the whole community of Sheffield and I would be more than happy to have a regular briefing with you at a time that is appropriate.”