A town in Oxfordshire could be down to its last “2 or 3 burial spaces” and plans to find more space are underway.

Bicester Town Council, who run and maintain the Bicester Cemetery site between St. Edburg’s Church and Pingle Field, admit that due to the size of the site, burial space is running out.

Extensions to the site have been made several times, the last in 2012 when the Environment Agency said there would be no further expansions of the cemetery permitted.

In March 2021, there were 28 single burial plots and 31 plots for cremated remains left at the cemetery.

Phil Evans, Clerk at Bicester Town Council, said: “The town council have been actively searching for a new burial ground for over twenty years.

“We are aware of the critical situation regarding the number of plots remaining in the current cemetery.

“This is why we have not allowed the pre-purchase of burial plots since 2006.”

Mr Evans said that there are 196 burial plots left at the Bicester Cemetery site, however he stated that this includes all graves that were reserved before the 2006 change came in.

The current number of burial spaces, excluding those which have been reserved, is speculated upon by a funeral director in Bicester: “It is true that Bicester is running out of burial space. There may only be around 2 or 3 plots left.

“There are some spaces in the villages, but I believe you have to have some tie to the village to be buried in their churchyards.”

Many new potential sites have been investigated by the town council, but complications relating to the high water table across the town have made it more difficult to find a suitable site.

The Cherwell local plan 2011-2031 made a provision for a new burial ground to be located in the North West Bicester eco development.

However, Mr Evans said: “The original developer withdrew their application in 2018 and a new developer has just submitted its planning application for the section of the North West.

“We are working with Cherwell District Council to expedite the availability of land in the North West.”

Jamieson Hodgson, Deputy CEO of Memoria, who have two crematorium sites in Oxfordshire, said: “Across the UK there is a problem with burial space in so far that the infrastructure being provided by governments is filling up.

“Which means finding new places to bury people, which costs money.

“Burial is not a very profitable thing, and actually the number of burials being carried out in the UK is low compared to cremation.”


Read more from this author

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1


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