“Extortionate” burial fees for non-Kettering residents set to remain

Rothwell Cemetery.
Rothwell Cemetery.

Fees to bury people living outside the borough of Kettering at the time of their death are set to remain, despite a bid to reduce them.

Last year the Northants Telegraph reported grieving families’ anger at being forced to pay four times the local fee.

Labour’s Cllr Anne Lee tabled a motion to reduce that to two times the local fee, which resulted in the idea being put to the council’s research and development committee to explore.

But at a meeting tonight (Tuesday) it is recommended that the current fee remains.

A council document says it is important that the distinction between the rates remains to help the taxpayer in the future.

It reads: “While income is one consideration we must also consider the cost of providing this service and the level of service being provided.

“Firstly, there is a need for the cemetery ground to be maintained, this would continue to be a requirement for 99 years after the last plot has been utilised, for which no income will be received, but the costs will fall to the taxpayer.

“It is therefore important that the distinction between resident and non-resident is maintained, as the taxpayer is contributing to the maintenance of the cemetery, and will continue to do so long into the future as we still have a duty to manage and maintain closed churchyards.”

One person hit by the fee was Philip Sharman, whose grandmother passed away having retired to Market Harborough despite living in Rothwell for more than 40 years.

He was stunned to be quoted a fee of almost £4,000.

In September, he said: “When we buried my dad three years ago the base price was £295 and that’s increased three-fold.

“My grandma is not considered a resident of the borough any more, so there’s an uplift to bury her there.

“I’m not suggesting that there’s no uplift, but to charge almost £4,000? There’s no justification for that.

“I’ve looked at other councils’ fees and Kettering charges the most by a long way.

“It’s a very cynical way of making money.

“All we are getting for £4,000 is a hole in the ground. They won’t budge.”