Concerns voiced about grave opening costs

Carnmoney Cemetery (archive pic).
Carnmoney Cemetery (archive pic).

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.”