West Rainton Cemetery Guide for users
This guide provides information for anyone considering a burial in the West Rainton Cemetery, cemetery users and the owners of grave plots; with details of current fees and policies.
West Rainton cemetery is run by West Rainton & Leamside Parish Council (the burial authority) and is located in Chantry Place. The cemetery grounds border the A690 trunk road.
It was opened in 1939 and extended in 1983. Although geographically located opposite St Mary’s Church graveyard, the Parish Council cemetery has no association with the Church nor vice versa. There are no Commonwealth War graves in the cemetery.
The Parish Council is committed to maintaining the cemetery to a high standard.
To help achieve this, the Parish Council require grave owners to look after and maintain graves and memorials in a neat, safe and tidy manner and asks all cemetery users to abide by the policies and rules outlined in this document.
The cemetery is open from 8.30am – 8.30 pm daily (16.30pm from October – May).
Dogs, other than assistance dogs are not allowed in the cemetery.
Vehicles are prohibited, other than for funeral corteges or contractor access.
A waste bin and a water tap is provided. (The water tap may be turned off over the winter months).
What type of burial plotsare available?
Single or double depth plots are available for full burials. A double depth plot provides space for two burials and is the choice when partners wish to be buried together.
Only plots in a designated lawn area of the Cemetery are now offered. Only memorial headstones are permitted. Kerb sets are not allowed asthe ground will be turfed to maintain the lawn and allow easier access for on-going grounds maintenance.
Cremated remains cannot be scattered in the Cemetery. If you wish to bury cremated remains, you will need permission from the Council. The cemetery has a space dedicated for this purpose, or it may be possible to bury the remains in an existing, full sized burial plot of another family member.
Cremated remains need to be in a biodegradable urn or casket. Advice should be sought from the funeral director.
Arranging a burial
This should be organised with a reputable Funeral Director. The Parish Council recommend that you use a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors or similar professional body.
The funeral director will liaise fully with the Parish Council.
Allocation of Burial Plots
New burials are allocated in the next available space; but the ParishCouncil reserve the right to allocate space elsewhere within the cemetery should ground conditions or operational issues dictate. Should this prove necessary, the Parish Clerk will notify the Funeral Director.
It is not possible to reserve or earmark a burial plot for future use.
Exclusive Right of Burial
When you buy a grave, what you are actually buying is the Exclusive Right of Burial for a specific period of 99 years. It also entitles the owner to install a memorial in line with Parish Council policy.
You are not buying the grave freehold; it is more like purchasing a lease. No burial may take place in the grave and no memorial may be placed on the grave without the written permission of the grave owner during the period of the Exclusive Rights.
Ownership of the Exclusive Right of Burial is therefore a very important matter.
The Council’s records contain the details of the registered grave owners. However, it is important that the grave owners keep safe their Exclusive Right of Burial. The Council issues this document when the grave is first purchased and it should be produced if a second burial is required.
Re-opening of grave plots for second burial
If a full or cremated remains burial is required to be made in an existing grave which requires re-opening, you will need to provide an original copy of proof of ownership to the Parish Council. (This will be in the forms of what are known as an Exclusive Right of Burial or Transfer of Assignment).
There is a fee for the re-opening of an existing double depth or cremated remains plot. Please see details below or check the Parish Council website.
Fees and charges
These are reviewed by the Parish Council on an annual basis each March.
The current charges (from April 2019) are:
Cremated Remains £153.00
Child age up to 16 years No charge
Memorial Fees £76.00
Search fee £25.00
These fees apply to those who were residents of the parish at the time of death and include those former residents in residential nursing care homes. For non-residents (ie. those living outside of the parish area), the costs are double those shown.
Income generated from burials is used to help maintain and improve the cemetery grounds.
What happens to a grave after a burial?
After a burial the grave will need time to settle. During this period the grave will be topped up with top soil and then, when fully settled, turfed over by the Council’s grounds maintenance contractor. It may take several months for a grave to settle.
Only the registered owner of a grave can request a headstone to be installed.
Prior to installation of a memorial headstone, permission must be obtained from the Parish Council to ensure conformity to the dimensions required and that proposed inscriptions are appropriate. Your appointed memorial mason must contact the Parish Council on your behalf.
Parish Council recommendation is that a memorial headstone can only be installed after a minimum six months period following a burial. This period allows for the ground to settle. Responsibility for determining when to install a memorial rests with the monumental mason who must make an assessment of ground conditions after six months.
Memorial headstones must be in alignment with others in the row.
Memorial headstones for a traditional grave must not exceed 36 ins. height x 34 ins. width. To mark a cremated remains plot, any memorial must not exceed 18 ins. height x 18 ins. width.
It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that memorials are kept in good repair. The owner is responsible for any repairs to damage caused by vandalism, storm, wind, lightning, cracking or subsidence of footings. If a memorial becomes unsafe, the Parish Council may contact the registered owner to request that repairs are arranged at their cost. You may wish to arrange appropriate insurance cover.
The installation of a kerb set/surround is no longer permitted on any new burialplot.Where no kerb surround is currently in place on an older existing grave, the installation of a kerb set will not be permitted.
Where a memorial headstone or kerb set already exists, the registered grave owner must obtain permission from the Parish Council if they wish to replace it.
Rules on grave adornments and settings
All tributes are placed at the owner’s own risk.
Free standing vases and pots are not permitted at new graves in the designated lawn section of the cemetery nor in older parts of the cemetery where existing graves currently have no memorial or kerb set.
Flower containers in these areas must be requested as an integral part of a memorial headstone when these are commissioned.
For new graves, pending the installation of a permanent memorial, adornments are limited to a grave identification marker and floral tribute.
At other plots, tributes should only be placed within the boundaryof a burial plot.
Fresh floral tributes should be removed no later than two weeks after placing. Decayed tributes will be disposed of by the Parish Council.
Artificial floral tributes/wreaths laid for specific occasions eg. Remembrance Day and Christmas should be removed within 3 months. Faded tributes will be removed.
Solar lights are not permitted in the cemetery.
Glass vases, jars, pottery or flimsy ornaments are not allowed in the cemetery. For health and safety reasons these will be removed.
Unauthorised, makeshift or unsafe installations will be removed and disposed of by the Parish Council.
All waste should be disposed of in the bin provided.
Keeping in touch
It is important that the Parish Council is able to keep its records up to date, if you are a grave plot owner and change address, please notify the Council as soon as possible.
Should you have any queries about the cemetery or individual grave plots, please contact the Parish Clerk:
Tel: 0790 080 0540 (business hours only – please leave a message)
Published September 2019 (V6)