Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has moved to clarify the charges imposed for the opening of burial plots in the region.
A pensioner, who recently acted as executor of a friend’s will, contacted the Times after he was shocked to discover the cost of opening a burial plot for a non resident.
The man said: “My friend bought his plot at Carnmoney Cemetery a number of years ago while he was a Newtownabbey resident.
“He moved to Mount Vernon and lived there for approximately 20 years, but still retained close links to Newtownabbey.
“When he passed away, I was shocked to discover that there was a cost of £1,000 to open his grave space. If he had still lived in Newtownabbey, the cost would only have been £170.
“This is a huge difference and one that I wasn’t aware of. It added extra stress to an already stressful time.”
The Times contacted the local authority regarding the pricing system.
In a breakdown of the charges released by the council, the figures showed that the first opening of a grave plot for a resident costs £280. This compares to £1,300 for a non resident.
Each subsequent opening costs £170 for a resident and £1,000 for a non resident.
Residents will be charged £140 to purchase a plot in the Garden of Remembrance, while non residents will have to pay £260 for the same service.
Commenting on the issue, a council spokesperson said; “Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council conducted a strategic review of cemeteries to consider the grave capacity across the borough.
“The current Cemetery Charges were introduced as a reasonable and equitable way to manage grave capacity within the borough
and are kept under review.”
The spokesperson added: “A person may claim resident status by providing proof of residency in the borough in the preceding seven years.
“The fee structure for cemetery charges for residents and non-residents, are similar to other councils in Northern Ireland.”