THOSE wanting to be buried in Lyme Regis cemetery will have to prove they have previously lived in the area or have a genuine family link to the town in future.
In the past, the cemetery has been open to burials of anyone – whether they were from Lyme Regis or not – although double fees apply for non-residents.
But when councillors were recently asked to review charges for burials, Cllr Cheryl Reynolds expressed concerns that the cemetery should be for parishioners of Lyme Regis only due to limited space.
The matter was brought to last week’s virtual meeting for further discussion.
Council officer Adrianne Mullins explained that it was common practice to allow non-parishioners to be buried in cemeteries, and most that requested this did already have some kind of connection to the town.
Of the 16 burials in 2020, four were non-parishioners – two of these lived in Charmouth and two had previously lived in Lyme Regis.
While space is limited in the cemetery, it is estimated that new grave spaces will be available for the next 25 to 30 years, in addition to graves already purchased and re-opening of existing graves.
Cllr Belinda Bawden said that she felt it was unnecessary to restrict burials to those with a proven link to the town, as there was not an extreme shortage of space and the council was not overrun with requests from non-residents.
“It sends a really hostile message,” she said.
However, councillors agreed they would restrict burials to those with a proven link to the town in future and burial fees would be reviewed again at a future date as they are currently low compared to neighbouring towns.