Decisions Made

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Decisions published

04/11/2020 - Pre-Purchase of Burial Plots ref: 347    Recommendations Approved

Introduction
The Council has been requested to consider allowing pre-purchase of exclusive right of burial to enable residents to know they will be buried in a particular grave space (or a particular graveyard if it is not possible to allocate a specific space at the point of pre purchase. This note sets out the proposed course of action for the Council in response to this request.


Summary
It is recommended that the Council does permit pre-purchase of grave spaces albeit with the restrictions noted in the recommendations to ensure continuity of supply to respond to on-going demand from Crawley residents.

Recommendations
It is recommended that the Head of Major Projects and Commercial Services, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services approve the following amendment to the Council’s Burial Ground Regulations:

1. To permit pre-purchase of grave spaces at Snell Hatch Cemetery and Little Trees Cemetery, with the following conditions applied:

(a) Pre-purchase of grave spaces be limited to residents only but with discretion considered for those that have a strong affiliation with Crawley (eg, where the deceased lived a large proportion of their life in Crawley but were living elsewhere immediately prior to their death).

(b) Pre-purchase of grave spaces will be permissible providing there remains at least a three year supply of available grave spaces (based upon the take up of spaces over the previous three years).

(c) Pre-purchase will normally be on the basis of purchasing the exclusive right of burial for the next available sequential space at the time of purchase. However, should the layout of grave spaces restrict access to facilitate the subsequent digging of the grave, pre-purchase will be offered on the basis of the next available space when the individual dies and will therefore be the right to be buried in the named cemetery rather than in a specific plot.

(d) Pre-purchase of the exclusive right of burial to be for a 50 year term from the date of purchase with the option available to purchase a further 50 years at the end of the initial term.

(e) Pre-purchase will be limited to individuals for personal use with the ability to make provision for transfer to an immediate family member upon their death.

2. Within the context of the above conditions, the specific wording of the amendment to the burial ground regulations to be delegated to the Head of Major Projects and Commercial Services.


Reasons for the Recommendations
It is recommended that pre-purchase of grave spaces is permitted. Although the number of requests for pre-purchase has been relatively small (estimated less than 5 in the last 5 years), pre-purchase of plots can provide reassurance and comfort to some families, particularly where a member(s) of the family are already buried at a particular cemetery.

The reason for each of the respective conditions is noted below:

(a) Pre-purchase of grave spaces be limited to residents only but with discretion considered for those that have a strong affiliation with Crawley (eg, where the deceased lived a large proportion of their life in Crawley but were living elsewhere immediately prior to their death).

Reason: To maximise the opportunity for Crawley residents to benefit from the ability to pre-purchase grave spaces.



(b) Pre-purchase of grave spaces will be permissible providing there remains at least a three year supply of available grave spaces (based upon the take up of spaces over the previous three years).

Reason: It is estimated that the lead in period to provide additional grave spaces would be up to three years. To ensure there is sufficient time to provide additional capacity as and when required, the Council would want to ensure pre-purchase demand does not reduce available capacity to less than the three year lead in.


(c) Pre-purchase will normally be on the basis of purchasing the exclusive right of burial for the next available sequential space at the time of purchase. However, should the layout of grave spaces restrict access to facilitate the subsequent digging of the grave, pre-purchase will be offered on the basis of the next available space when the individual dies and will therefore be the right to be buried in the named cemetery rather than exclusive right of burial in a specific plot.

Reason: Where feasible, the Council will provide pre-purchase of exclusive right of burial for the next available sequential grave space. However, this will only be possible where the layout of grave spaces enable the grave to be subsequently dug without disturbing the adjacent graves, headstones or landings.

Unfortunately, the current layout of the Muslim graves at Little Trees Cemetery will mean it is not possible to return to these plots and dig the grave without disturbing the adjacent headstone and landing. To offer pre-purchase in this circumstance, it will therefore be necessary to provide this for the next available space at the time of death rather than the next available space at the time of purchase.


(d) Pre-purchase of the exclusive right of burial be for a 50 year term from the date of purchase with the option available to purchase a further 50 years at the end of the initial term.


Reason: Currently the term of the exclusive right of burial starts when the grave is purchased so this is in line with the recommendations for pre-purchase. Where the two differ is that at present a grave is only purchased when someone has died and therefore is occupied immediately and the term of the exclusive right of burial starts and lasts for 50 years.

With pre-purchase it is feasible that a grave might remain unoccupied for the full term of the exclusive right of burial. Even if it is not used for 10 or 20 years it extends the exclusive right considerably if it were not to start until the purchaser was buried. It is therefore recommended to keep the ownership in line with the existing periods for exclusive right of burial by starting the period at date of purchase. The existing regulations relating to exclusive right of burial are attached at Appendix 1 to this briefing note.


(e) Pre-purchase will be limited to individuals for personal use with the ability to make provision for transfer to an immediate family member upon their death.

Reason: To maximise the opportunity for individual Crawley households. This would limit the ability for burial societies or groups to pre-purchase a large number of plots and thereby ensure the opportunity is retained for individual families.

Decision Maker: Head of Major Projects and Commercial Services

Decision published: 11/11/2020

Effective from: 04/11/2020

Decision:

Recommendations
It is recommended that the Head of Major Projects and Commercial Services, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services approve the following amendment to the Council’s Burial Ground Regulations:

1. To permit pre-purchase of grave spaces at Snell Hatch Cemetery and Little Trees Cemetery, with the following conditions applied:

(a) Pre-purchase of grave spaces be limited to residents only but with discretion considered for those that have a strong affiliation with Crawley (eg, where the deceased lived a large proportion of their life in Crawley but were living elsewhere immediately prior to their death).

(b) Pre-purchase of grave spaces will be permissible providing there remains at least a three year supply of available grave spaces (based upon the take up of spaces over the previous three years).

(c) Pre-purchase will normally be on the basis of purchasing the exclusive right of burial for the next available sequential space at the time of purchase. However, should the layout of grave spaces restrict access to facilitate the subsequent digging of the grave, pre-purchase will be offered on the basis of the next available space when the individual dies and will therefore be the right to be buried in the named cemetery rather than in a specific plot.

(d) Pre-purchase of the exclusive right of burial to be for a 50 year term from the date of purchase with the option available to purchase a further 50 years at the end of the initial term.

(e) Pre-purchase will be limited to individuals for personal use with the ability to make provision for transfer to an immediate family member upon their death.

2. Within the context of the above conditions, the specific wording of the amendment to the burial ground regulations to be delegated to the Head of Major Projects and Commercial Services.

Lead officer: Nigel Sheehan


03/11/2020 - Transformation Plan 2020-22 ref: 346    Recommendations Approved

The Transformation Plan re-launched in 2017 incorporated seven key themes and activities to deliver against the corporate priorities. This plan was refreshed in November 2019 to cover the period from 2019-2022. Such has been the progress made against the plan, and such has been the impact of Covid-19 both on community needs and Council finances, it was decided to refresh the Transformation Plan for the period 2020-22

The Transformation Board has undertaken a review of the previous plan and drafted a new plan. This has been shared with Cabinet and the Overview & Scrutiny Commission for comment. The purpose of this report is to note the progress made against the previous plan and to agree the new plan.

Decision Maker: Deputy Chief Executive

Decision published: 10/11/2020

Effective from: 03/11/2020

Decision:

- To note progress made against the Transformation Plan 2019-22
- To agree the Transformation Plan 2020-22

Lead officer: Ian Duke