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New facility for the storage of ashes in Exeter to be considered by council

Published: 29 June 2021

New facility for the storage of ashes in Exeter to be considered by councillors Columbarium

A proposal to create a new structure for the storage of ashes for people cremated in Exeter is set to be discussed by councillors.

The proposed “columbarium” - a structure used for public storage of urns holding the ashes of people who have been cremated – would be constructed at Higher Cemetery in Heavitree.

A report to be discussed by members of the Council’s Executive next week recommends approving the creation of the columbarium.

The report examines the viability of a permanent structure for the interment of ashes to serve Exeter and the wider Devon communities.

A recent review of the provision of funeral services provided by the Council identified a reduced capacity for full body burials at the three council-run sites at Higher, Exwick and Topsham cemeteries.

Based on the current demand, it would not be possible to carry out Full Body Burials beyond 2025 apart from the graves which have already been reserved.

The review identified a need for redesigning the way the Council undertakes ashes burials to ensure the remaining land within the cemeteries are used in the most efficient and respectful way.

The current facility in Higher Cemetery for the permanent interment of ashes is near capacity, and is not the most efficient use of the land. It provides for the interment of ashes within a square metre area for the burial of ashes.

The proposed columbarium would accommodate 12 spaces in the same footprint, positioned vertically, and has a capacity of 606.

The report states that a recent survey with local funeral directors confirmed that a permanent facility for the interment of ashes would be a welcome addition to the current service and were supportive of the project.

Sales of spaces in the columbarium would be carried out directly by the Council and via the funeral providers.

Members of the Council’s Executive will discuss the proposals on Tuesday, 6 July.


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