Village doubles cost of a grave to deter 'outsiders'

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The Independent Online

Moving away from the West Yorkshire village of Bramhope has suddenly become a matter for grave reflection.

Moving away from the West Yorkshire village of Bramhope has suddenly become a matter for grave reflection.

Such is the desirability of a resting place in the church's attractive walled cemetery that the price of burial for people from elsewhere is going up to keep plots for people who have stayed in the village.

A burial will cost twice as much for emigrants - including "sons, daughters and grandchildren of people who moved away several years ago", a parish councillor said yesterday. Even the locals are to be asked for more - £200 instead of the previous £75 - while the rest will have to find £400. And prices for burials are rising considerably faster than the area's house prices.

Clive Fox, of Bramhope Parish Council, said: "We don't want any danger of being so cheap that people will come to us who have no real connection with the village." As a resident of Arthington parish, Mr Fox has fallen foul of the ruling himself and will have to pay twice as much as residents within Bramhope and Carlton.

The parish clerk, Janet Sunderland, who takes burial bookings, was offering some reassurances yesterday: "If an elderly person who has lived here a long time goes into an elderly people's home and dies, they will not pay double fees."

The sudden demands on Bramhope churchyard remain something of a mystery. Councillors in the village, which is on the outskirts of Leeds, report a surgeof burial requests in the last 18 months. Mr Fox suggested that many came from relatives of people who had once lived in the village. "We do have a situation where sons and daughters have moved away," he said.

Bramhope's problems come as parts of the North contend with funeral delays caused by full graveyards. "It's only right that places be reserved there for those who are local," a villager said yesterday.

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