West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has once again spoken out in Parliament on the continued lack of burial provision within West Lancashire. The lack of plots is forcing local families to have to pay a death tax to be buried in neighbouring areas.
Speaking in the Commons in a Parliamentary Debate on burial and the treatment of death on Wednesday 5 September, MP Rosie highlighted how West Lancashire families continue to suffer and the lack of leadership from West Lancashire Borough Council in finding a solution.
Planning permission for a cemetery and crematorium was originally granted in 1999 at Throstle’s Nest Farm site on Pippin Street in Burscough. In 2004 another planning application was submitted. Then in 2011 there was a further application to extend the deadline for implementing the planning permission. Yet today there are still no signs of the site being developed.
With no burial plots available, especially in the Borough’s most populated town of Skelmersdale, it means families are being forced to look to Sefton, Liverpool and St Helens for their loved one’s final resting place that could cost as much as up to an extra £1000.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said after the debate:
“For several years I have been campaigning now for the provision of extra burial space to bring an end to this outrageous and unnecessary situation of families looking to neighbouring areas for burial plots. I especially want to put an end to families being forced to having to pay the very large extra costs of what amounts to a death tax because here in West Lancashire the Council cannot meet their needs.
“I remain deeply frustrated that despite the Pippin Street site having planning permission there is no visible progress towards a new cemetery or crematorium. How much longer must people wait?
“As I said in the debate we need councils to act with some understanding and compassion towards their local residents – the people who pay their council tax. I just wonder if another suitable site in West Lancashire was to be granted planning permission if progress would be so slow. For me this how the Borough Council could be more proactive in addressing this ongoing problem. I am continuing to work with members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Funerals and Bereavement to identify possible providers who would be willing to develop a site and provide this desperately needed burial plots.
“Ultimately, what we need is a resolution to this situation and quickly. Losing a loved one is a difficult enough time for people, it is being made even harder for West Lancashire residents facing the choice of which neighbouring area in which to bury their loved one; the cost of the death tax from this decision; then having to travel to visit the burial plot often with our dreadful transport links.”