Grieving families hit out at ‘extortionate’ Rothwell cemetery plot fees

Rothwell Cemetery.

Rothwell Cemetery.

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Grieving families of those whose dying wish was to be buried at Rothwell Cemetery have spoken of their disgust after being charged ‘extortionate’ plot fees.

Kettering Council’s policy means that anyone from outside the borough must pay four times the local fee to be buried in Rothwell.

Stella Sharman recently passed away aged 91, having lived in Rothwell for more than 40 years until she retired to Market Harborough.

She requested to be buried with her son in Rothwell Cemetery - but grandson Philip was stunned to be quoted a fee of almost £4,000.

He said: “When we buried my dad three years ago the base price was £295 and that’s increased three-fold.

“My grandma is not considered a resident of the borough any more, so there’s an uplift to bury her there.

“I’m not suggesting that there’s no uplift, but to charge almost £4,000? There’s no justification for that.

“I’ve looked at other council’s fees and Kettering charges the most by a long way.

“It’s a very cynical way of making money.

“All we are getting for £4,000 is a hole in the ground. They won’t budge.”

Another to voice his anger is Andrew Lockhart, son of local artist Jim who passed away this month aged 89.

He lived in Rothwell for much of his life with his wife of more than 50 years Irene, but moved to Corby after she died in 2000.

He owned the plot where she is buried and his last wish was to be buried in the same plot as his wife - but Andrew has been quoted at about £2,000 to do this.

He said: “My dad loved Rothwell and only moved because the memories in his house were too much for him.

“If he was alive now he’d be so upset.

“It’s absolute extortion and the ethics of it is quite frankly disgusting.

“We’ve had to pay it. We are not going to hold up the funeral and we can’t not have it.

“Some people might not be able to afford these charges.”

A Kettering Council spokesman said its policy clearly sets out the fees and charges that apply.

The spokesman said: “As with many local authorities, cemetery space in Kettering borough is becoming extremely limited.

“Local authority cemeteries are primarily provided for burial of residents of the district and the cost of their maintenance is paid for by the council tax payers of the borough.

“The authority will accept the burial of non-residents in its cemeteries but charges an additional fee in order to manage these two issues.

“The council’s policy clearly sets out the details of fees and charges that apply.

“The charging of a higher non-residents rate is normal for many burial authorities.”