Simpler burial fees will not increase costs, council is told

The cemetery at Bainbridge. Photo: Google.

By Betsy Everett

A parish council was not a commercial venture, and should not be looking to profit from burials, a meeting was told this week.

Responding to a report on charging proposals for the cemetery at Bainbridge, on the north side of the A684 road to Aysgarth, Councillor Yvonne Peacock agreed charges should stay the same as long as it was not operating at a loss.

“We just about break even on current costs.We don’t want to make money but we have to cover maintenance costs,” she said.

She was responding to a report from cemetery secretary Karen Prudden who recommended simplifying the burial fees structure to bring it into line with other parishes. Currently Bainbridge had a three-tier structure for those inside the parish boundary, those in neighbouring parishes, and those outside, she said.

“Other parishes have just two charges, one for those in the parish and one for those outside. It’s much simpler and it reduces the room for argument,” she told the meeting.

Members agreed the new structure, where parishioners would pay £365 (currently £310) and those outside the parish would pay double. However, this would include administration and maintenance fees, currently charged separately. Those who had had to move out of the parish to a care home would continue to be treated as locals, said Mrs Prudden,

Parish clerk Gillian Harrison said the fees should be well-publicised and people made aware of the comparative costs for cremation, which were currently around £700-£800.

There was a two-week wait for a slot at the crematorium, and there was the additional cost of getting to and from [Darlington], she said.

At a meeting of the neighbouring Askrigg parish council the previous week, Cllr Peacock said plans were in hand to extend the cemetery at Bainbridge to cope with increased demand for burials.

Young people in Bainbridge were being treated as “second-class citizens,” an angry resident told members. Nearly two years after the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority had approved the building of five affordable houses for sale behind the Rose and Crown Inn, they had still not issued a decision, she said.

“I would like to know why, when nine local people have put in for one of these houses, and plans have been passed not once but twice, we are still waiting for a decision after all this time.

“These are local people wanting affordable homes and they are being ignored and treated like second-class citizens,” she said, adding that a planning officer had indicated to her that the houses might in fact be made available for shared ownership.

“If that is the case then it is totally against what was agreed which is that they were for complete buy-out by local people at a discounted rate,” said council chair, Brian Brown.

The council was told that the houses met the criteria on affordable homes, the developers, Randall Orchard, were not holding things up, and Richmondshire District Council was satisfied that everything was in place and had raised no objections. However, one local resident was objecting and threatening the planning authorities with a judicial review.

“If that’s the case then it’s blackmail,” said Cllr Darren Percival. Members agreed to write to the planners asking why, when the houses met the government’s criteria on affordable housing on an “exception site,” and when the plans had twice been before the planning committee, no decision had yet been issued.

A request for recycling bins at Bainbridge primary school to be moved to the national park’s headquarters to prevent “misuse” by the public was rejected. The district council had indicated they would not be close enough to the road.

The school had objected to the bins being used by villagers and holiday cottage owners as they were at the front of the school and in full view. But Cllr Peacock said fencing for the site had been paid for out of district council funds for use by the public and members agreed there was therefore no reason to move them.

“We [the parish council] applied for funding to get it on the school grounds for community use and it came out of area partnership money. If the school has a problem with it I’m afraid I don’t. We gave them the money for it so that is their problem,” she said.

A pathway to the school up the bank from the road, was regularly flooding and gravel was being washed into the highway, members heard. A proposal to put steps in the slope would be costed and a request for part-funding would be put to the Lords of the Manor once estimates were received. There was also a chance of applying for a grant from the £10,000 Richmondshire District Council area partnership fund, said Cllr Peacock.

Travellers would be able to come to the village on their way to the Appleby Horse Fair in May from the evening of Friday, 31 May, to the morning of Tuesday, 4 June.

There would be no fencing as in previous years but police had agreed it would be a “managed site.” Notices would be placed on the village green three weeks before the planned visit spelling out exactly what the travellers could and could not do.

Meanwhile a leaflet would be given to residents, with useful contact numbers and travellers would also receive leaflets making it clear what was expected of them and asking them not to abuse the village’s hospitality. Honesty boxes would be removed just before the visit.

The next meeting of the parish council will be on Tuesday, May 7, at 7pm in Sycamore Hall.