'Extortionate' burial fees for non-Kettering residents could be reduced
Charges to bury residents whose last dying wish was to be laid to rest in the borough of Kettering could be reduced.
Grieving families said the rate was “extortionate” for non-residents, with one forced to pay four times the local fee in Rothwell.
Now Kettering Council’s opposition group is calling for these fees to be reduced in a motion put forward by Cllr Anne Lee (Lab) which will be discussed tonight (Wednesday).
Cllr Lee says the charges are far higher than the amounts relatives should be expected to pay.
She said: “A quadruple charge is very much out of step with the national average of twice the charge for residents.
“The only other councils that charge this much are Huntingdon and Lewisham.
“It cannot be beyond our reach to find another way to prevent burial plots being bought in large numbers for investment purposes without imposing a hefty fee on non-residents, which can lead to extremely high charges forcibly carried by relatives in already sad circumstances, as highlighted by the Northants Telegraph a few months ago.”
If successful, fees for non-residents who used to live in the borough but were forced to leave for circumstances beyond their control will be reduced to the normal rate.
Fees for non-residents not meeting those requirements would also be reduced from four times the normal rate to double.
Stella Sharman passed away earlier this year aged 91, having lived in Rothwell for more than 40 years until she retired to Market Harborough.
She requested to be buried with her son in Rothwell Cemetery - but grandson Philip was stunned to be quoted a fee of almost £4,000.
Philip says he hopes that political differences can be put aside and that the fees will be reduced.
After hearing about the proposals, he said: “I think that sounds like a much fairer system and much more in line with the other councils.
“People have paid their taxes and this would have halved the bill for us.
“I hope they realise the charges are not fair for people in the area and I hope political differences can be put aside.”