UPROAR over the future provisions of burial grounds in Ledbury has sparked a parish meeting so people can have an open and frank debate with the town council.

Members of the council’s Environment and Leisure Committee recently considered the options open to the council for the existing cemetery in New Street, appreciating that it was anticipated the cemetery would be at full capacity for new graves in about 15 years.

The committee considered that provision of a new/extended cemetery would put financial strain on the council precept and therefore the residents of Ledbury, and would not be affordable, in terms of a public loan being too expensive, escalating land value costs and the impact on the precept.

Once Ledbury Cemetery was full any new burials/Garden of Remembrance internments would take place at Hereford Cemetery.

The committee’s recommendation to full council was not to make provision for burial services for new plots at Ledbury Cemetery at this stage.

This news has been greeted with anger and dismay on Facebook group Voice of Ledbury.

A parish meeting has been organised on Thursday, February 15 at 6pm in Burgage Hall so people can have an open and frank debate with members of the town council.

Steve Ellis wrote: “So what they are saying is, that in the near future, people will no longer be able to be laid to rest in the town where they live, and possibly where they have lived all of their lives.

"They are suggesting that within 15 years, Ledbury people will have to be buried in Hereford, this will also apply to memorial cremation plaques for loved ones.

"The current cemetery dates back to 1861, towns people have been buried there for 163 years, I have family buried there that go back more than 100 years.

"Many other Ledbury people will be able to say the same thing, but in 2024 our town council are about to make a decision that will deny local people the chance to be laid to rest in their own town."

Councillor Tony Bradford, who proposed the council did not make provision for burial plots at Ledbury Cemetery at this stage, said the council should request that Hereford take over further burial provision due to the potential increase to the precept.

He said: “People are already struggling to pay council tax and we would be looking at probably doubling it. I am not prepared to do that.

“It’s the conception we don’t care and that’s not right. If we had the money and the land, why wouldn’t we do it?

“I am not ruling anything out in future. In four years, there will be a new council and they may put the money required on the precept, if they find land.”  

Councillor Ewen Sinclair, who seconded the proposal, said he felt further provision of burial grounds would create an unfair financial strain.

He said: “The statement by Steve about lack of Government Funding is incorrect.  Any costs associated with a new cemetery will fall on Ledbury residents, via the precept."

He pointed out that land in and around Ledbury was likely to cost more than the suggested £70,000 to £120,000 and no land owner around Ledbury would sell and at this price if planning permission was granted for development of a site.

It would mean the council would have to compete with developers and therefore would increase the cost to council and residents.

The recommendation that Ledbury Town Council does not continue to make provision for burial services for new plots at Ledbury Cemetery at this stage will go before the full council at its meeting on Thursday, March 28.