Rest in peace… grave concerns

Churches are regretfully finding it impossible to keep cemeteries. Can they sell a cemetery for development? Yes, but regulations weigh in – a cemetery must be kept open to the public, free, for thirty years from the time of the last burial – and kept in a safe state for public use. Using a cemetery for development such as building on it has plethora of prohibitive regulations. Nonetheless, the church is selling or even giving away cemeteries – first offering them to councils, usually at a peppercorn price of $1 – otherwise encouraging locals to set up a Trust to run them. If these strategies fail, selling them on the open market is the only option left. If there’s a cemetery you care about, it’s time to ask what its future is.

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