FAMILIES will no longer be able to reserve graves next to loved ones at Woodlands Cemetery in a bid to expand the use of the cemetery by five months.
The decision was made at a council ‘stronger communities and partnerships’ meeting following information that the Birmingham Road cemetery has provision for another 18 months, equivalent to 340 grave plots available.
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, which owns and manages Woodlands Cemetery and Crematorium, Robin Hood Cemetery and Crematorium and Widney Manor Cemetery, currently allows families the option of buying grave plots in reserve for future use, or to ensure that loved ones are interred close to one another.
In 2016/17 there were 324 burials including full burials and cremations at Woodlands Cemetery and in the past 18 months 72 grave plots were purchased in reserve.
According to council documents, work is being carried out to extend Woodlands Cemetery. However there are concerns that it would be full before and extension is ready to be used.
Councillor Tony Dicicco, cabinet member for stronger communities and partnerships, said: “I have agreed that we cease enabling customers to reserve graves at Woodlands Cemetery in order to extend the time that the cemetery is available for immediate interment.
“Customers will still be able to reserve graves at Widney Manor Cemetery. We are looking at ways to extend Woodlands cemetery to accommodate more graves in the future.
“Managing our graves and cemeteries sensibly is important, as this service deals with people at a vulnerable time and we want to meet, if not exceed, customer expectations.”