INDEPENDENT Unionist councillor David McClarty has called for a new policy on the cost of burial plots for “non-residents” of the Coleraine borough.
Speaking a Tuesday night’s meeting of Coleraine Borough Council, Cllr McClarty highlighted the issue of non-residents of Coleraine paying more for a grave than people who live in the borough.
“The difficulty comes for people who are resident in Ballymoney and go into a nursing home in Coleraine,” he explained.
“If they stay for more than six months in Coleraine they are then considered residents of Coleraine but then when they die and want to be buried in Ballymoney they have to pay a non-resident rate and vice versa for people from Coleraine in Ballymoney nursing homes.
“Could we not look at a reciprocal agreement with the councils that are adjacent to Coleraine borough? I think it would be beneficial for residents in all of the four council areas near to us.”
Council’s Head of Policy David Jackson said that he would look at the issue and compare the cemetery pricing in the councils nearest to Coleraine.
He said that Coleraine Borough Council burial plots were extremely competitive in price - for example £140 to purchase a burial plot in Coleraine for residents and £280 for non-residents.
Cllr McClarty agreed saying that other council areas were much more expensive citing Belfast City Council as an example where a resident pays £450 for a burial plot as opposed to a non-resident who pays £1,470.
M Jackson agreed to look into the Council’s current policy and come back to members with more information.
He also explained that costs of purchasing plots, opening graves, burials etc vary from area to area and also depend on factors such as the day of burial, whether ashes are involved, whether there is a memorial garden etc
Mr Jackson is also to share policy thinking with the Transition Committee which shares information among Coleraine, Ballymoney, Moyle and Limavady council areas.