PROPOSALS to extend Whitehaven Cemetery to create more space for burials have been approved.

The scheme to create additional plots within the existing cemetery extension was formally agreed by Copeland council’s executive at a meeting today (October 7).

The site was last extended more than a decade ago to accommodate an extra 373 burial plots with land to the western edge set aside for this.

The estimated £74,000 cost of this latest expansion would be used to create another 128 burial plots, capable of accommodating 256 burials.

However, the exact costs and the size of the scheme will only become clear following the completion of the tendering and procurement process.

Owing to the steepness of the ground, it has been recommended that no more than two burials per plot can be achieved.

Based on the average number of new graves required per year, this would extend the current provision at Whitehaven Cemetery for another 6.7 years.

And combined with the existing burial space, this would provide capacity in this area until 2027.

The works will be funded from the council’s approved 2019/20 capital programme.

The plans will see the creation of paths, an access road, concrete plinths for headstones, a wall and landscaping features.

A consecration ceremony by the Bishop of Carlisle has also been proposed for the new burial spaces.

Copeland Council manages burial services at five cemeteries across the borough – Whitehaven, Hensingham, Beckermet, Nether Wasdale and Millom – with the Parks and Open Spaces team providing about 100 interments a year.

Burials account for around 10 per cent of the council’s bereavement services provision, with 90 per cent of services provided as cremations at Distington Hall.

Julie Betteridge, the council’s director of growth and inclusive communities, stressed that the expansion move was part of a bigger package.

She said: “We already have five cemeteries, and this is about keeping the whole thing rolling.

“And if we have extra space, then it is prudent of us to put in extra burial space.”