Agenda item

Spalding Cemetery Briefing Note

To provide a basic overview of management and operation of Spalding Cemetery to the Panel as requested at the previous meeting (report of the Assistant Director – General Fund Assets enclosed).




Consideration was given to the briefing note of the Assistant Director- General Fund Assets which provided the Panel with a basic overview of management and operation of Spalding Cemetery.


The Assistant Director – General Fund Assets introduced the briefing note to the Panel which outlined the following information:

  • South Holland District Council responsibilities - the Council was responsible for one cemetery in the district, namely Spalding Cemetery;
  • budgetary information;
  • Code of Safe Working Practices for Cemeteries;
  • staffing and fees;
  • who was entitled to be buried at Spalding Cemetery; and
  • support received from the Friends Group.


Members considered the briefing note and made the following comments:


  • Members thanked the Assistant Director – General Fund Assets for bringing forward the briefing note to the Panel.


  • Members noted that:
    • as Spalding did not have a Town Council, South Holland District Council was responsible for the management/ maintenance of Spalding Cemetery which was funded through the Spalding Special Expenses account; whilst Parish Councils were responsible for their respective parish cemeteries funded through the parish precept;
    • Parish cemeteries were reaching capacity which would likely affect future demand of the Spalding Cemetery;
    • Members noted that grounds maintenance of closed Parish Church cemeteries were the responsibility of the Parish Council - Whaplode Parish Council had purchased land to extend the cemetery; and
    • Members suggested that non-traditional burial practices, such as green burial sites, be investigated as part of future discussions.


  • Members referred to the following statement within the briefing note: ‘The Council places no restriction upon who can be buried at the Cemetery in comparison with other ‘local’ cemeteries and has very low charges’, and asked whether Spalding residents were charged the same fees for burial in Spalding Cemetery as those who lived outside of Spalding.
    • The Assistant Director – General Fund Assets would refer to the Fee Policy and report back to the Committee on this matter.


  • Members queried whether a common fee structure applied to those who lived inside and outside of the district?
    • The Assistant Director – General Fund Assets stated that:

·       Spalding Cemetery received a high volume of burials for people who lived outside of the South Holland district which, anecdotally, had been attributed to low burial charges;

·       a comparison of burial costs charged by South Holland District Council and Boston Borough Council had shown that the charges in South Holland were 50 per cent less than those charged at Boston; Boston had experienced a decrease in burial demand and an increase demand for crematorium services;

·       the Facilities Manager had reviewed the Spalding Cemetery fees and charges with the Portfolio Holder and increased charges to reflect the local market were being proposed as part of the budget setting process;

·       a review of who could be buried at Spalding Cemetery had not been undertaken however the fee review would likely impact future demand;

·       the capacity of Spalding Cemetery in October 2022 was 360. Capacity reviews were undertaken to inform future decision-making, which could include the consideration of the site extension. Whilst the forecast of burial demand was fluid, it was anticipated that the current capacity would serve for 10 years.


  • Members stated that any potential extension of Spalding Cemetery, which included the purchase and preparation of land for burial purposes, required a long lead-in period and would have considerable financial implications on the Spalding Special Expenses Account. There was an urgency for the issue to be discussed.


  • A proposal was made that the discussion of the future of Spalding Cemetery be moved to Full Council. This was not seconded.
    • The Assistant Director – General Fund Assets responded that the Portfolio Holder was aware of the capacity issues at Spalding Cemetery and the proposed revision of the fees and charges. Specific discussions had not yet been made in terms of future expansion and land purchase.
      • In response the Chairman suggested that the following information be circulated to the Panel by 31 January 2023 for further consideration:
        • current capacities of parish council cemeteries which included details of any future plans being considered when capacity was reached;  and
        • the number of burials at Spalding Cemetery over the last 5 years specifically distinguishing between those that were for residents of the South Holland district and those who lived outside of the district.


  • In addition, members requested that:
    • fees for the burial of non-residents of the district be reviewed/increased to manage capacity and safeguard availability of burial plots for South Holland residents; and
    • that the relevant Portfolio Holder be invited to the 28 February 2023 Policy Development Panel meeting to discuss the plans for Spalding Cemetery.




That following consideration of the Spalding Cemetery briefing note, the comments of the Panel be noted.

Supporting documents: