Burial capacity issue in Leighton Buzzard ‘complex and sensitive’ admits council, as it seeks public opinion

Drone view of Vandyke Cemetery
Drone view of Vandyke Cemetery

Leighton-Linslade Town Council is seeking the public’s views on future burials at Vandyke Road Cemetery, an issue it admits is a “complex and sensitive” one.

With approximately eight years of burial capacity remaining, the inability to find and secure suitable burial land either within the parish or outside means that the council needs to think about ways to maximise burial capacity within its existing site.

The public consultation exercise will ask parish residents to consider options that could provide additional burial capacity in order to meet increasing demand by an ever expanding parish population.

Options in the survey include grave re-use for all graves over 100 years old for future interments. Under this method, graves are excavated to their deepest depth, with all remains – including bodies and any coffin furniture – placed in a casket and re-interred at the bottom of the grave. Further burials can then take place on the same plot and the capacity of the cemetery extended.

In order to capture as many comments as it can, the council is holding consultation events as follows:

Market: June 11, 29, July 9 (9am–4pm).

The council’s White House offices: June 19 (10am -5pm), July 17 (6pm-10pm), August 18 (10am-3pm).

Vandyke Road Cemetery Chapel: June 26 (10am-4pm), July 24 (6pm-10pm).

A council spokesman said: “Alongside the traditional methods of public engagement, we will also be using electronic methods for those unable to attend the public engagement sessions.

“It is hoped that the findings will be presented to the September 9 Grounds and Environmental Services Committee for its consideration.”

He added: “The issue is both complex and for some, will be a sensitive topic.

“It is important to be aware that the final decision is made by council and may not always reflect some of the views expressed during community engagement and consultation.

“The council will do its upmost to take all comments into consideration when seeking a workable solution in the interests of the town’s ability to accommodate those wishing to be buried within the parish.”

For further information visit: www.leightonlinslade-tc.gov.uk/consultations
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