Rosie Cooper MP

Working hard for the people of West Lancashire

24/04/06 Rosie Cooper MP calls for a new cemetery and crematoriu

Rosie Cooper MP is supporting residents and clergy who are demanding that West Lancashire District Council provides a new burial ground and possibly a crematorium in West Lancashire to enable local residents to lay their loved ones to rest in this area. West Lancashire District Council does not provide a cemetery and crematorium unlike other local authorities such as Liverpool, St Helens and Sefton.

Rosie is launching a campaign in which she is asking local residents to pledge their support for a new cemetery, crematorium and garden of rest either by signing a petition or via email to rosie@rosiecoopermp.net Rosie is hoping that by showing the District Council just how strongly local people feel they will make a determined commitment to resolve this longstanding problem now!

It is nearly fifty years since Skelmersdale new town was established, increasing the demand for burial plots in West Lancashire. Over the years people have had their hopes raised as planning permissions were granted and then those hopes have been dashed by the absence of any development on these sites.

Whether we bury or cremate our loved ones, it is comforting to know that we can visit them because they are close by but this is not the case for every family in West Lancashire. All the Churches are short of burial plots, there’s no West Lancashire owned crematorium and there are limited places for ashes in a garden of rest.

Families who cannot get a burial plot at the local church are forced to try neighbouring local authorities. Some families have to go against the wishes of their loved one or religious belief because they simply cannot get a burial plot. What is a very sad time for grieving West Lancashire families is made even more difficult because they face much higher costs than their neighbours in Liverpool, Southport and St Helens.

As non-council tax payers in these areas, families from West Lancashire have to pay increased costs for cremations and double the costs that their residents have to pay for burials. For example, to open a grave in Liverpool costs £690 for Liverpool residents but for a West Lancashire resident the cost rises to £1680. It is the same situation for burials in St Helens and Southport. West Lancashire residents also have to pay more for cremations £330 rather than the £280 charged to residents. These costs are likely to continue to rise as those local authorities try to keep available graves for their own residents. This is a huge burden for local families.

Rosie said:

“My aim is to put pressure on West Lancashire District Council to take its responsibility to local residents at a time of bereavement more seriously and stop hiding behind the fact they have no statutory obligation to provide such amenities. I believe they have a moral responsibility to ensure there are sufficient burial plots, cremation facilities and gardens of rest available. If they cannot or will not then the District Council should make a contribution to the extra costs families are charged when they use the cemeteries and crematoria outside of West Lancashire."

“The costs of buying a plot for burial in Liverpool, St. Helens or Southport are prohibitive for many people. Even if they are able to afford the costs of purchasing such a plot, they then face increased costs from funeral directors for the extra time and distance involved travelling from West Lancashire to the funeral because it is outside the local area. The problems do not stop there as the bereaved families are then faced with additional difficulties if they need to use public transport to and from the cemetery in order to visit a loved one's grave.”

“West Lancashire residents pay their Council Tax just like the people of Southport, St Helens and Liverpool but have to pay increased costs to bury their dead because West Lancashire District Council is not prepared to make the commitment to providing a new cemetery and possibly a crematorium.”

“I hope the Council will see sense and find a suitable location for a cemetery and ensure that there are crematorium facilities to serve the people of West Lancashire. This unfair situation places families in a very difficult situation at a very sad and vulnerable time, leaving them at the mercy of other local Authorities and funeral directors."

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