Backyard burial upsets family's neighbours

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The Independent Online

A family has upset neighbours by burying a relative in the back garden of their house. Abu Bakar Ahmed Suleman was buried in a garden in Lansdowne Road, near Luton town centre, in an Islamic ceremony last Thursday night.

A family has upset neighbours by burying a relative in the back garden of their house. Abu Bakar Ahmed Suleman was buried in a garden in Lansdowne Road, near Luton town centre, in an Islamic ceremony last Thursday night.

People living near by have now asked the council to have the body exhumed and reburied in a cemetery.

Burying the dead in the back garden is legal and is becoming increasingly common. But the close proximity of a body does not always please neighbours.

Staff at Chasewood Care Home, which is next door to the garden in Lansdowne Road, said they were astonished when they saw the open casket being taken into the garden.

"The whole thing gives me the creeps and I know the residents here are very upset. It would be better if the body was moved to a cemetery," said the manager of the home, Terri Tomas.

"When I called the police they said they couldn't do anything to stop it taking place because it wasn't illegal." The council's environmental health department had allegedly advised the family not to go ahead with it.

A spokeswoman for Luton Borough Council said it had no powers to prevent a burial on private land, provided various criteria were met. These include planning permission for memorial structures, an application for change of use to a graveyard if more than two bodies were buried and burials of at least 3ft deep.

The spokeswoman said the home owner should also inform the local authority, marking and detailing the whereabouts of the grave.

Nicholas Albery, the editor of The New Natural Death Handbook, said: "We advise against burial in private gardens, unless it is a huge estate. It can cause dissension with neighbours, members of the family and may reduce the value of the property."

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