Graves in Camberley cemetery may be reused

A cemetery
Image caption Cemeteries across Surrey are reaching capacity

Graves in a Surrey cemetery could be reused as the county faces a shortage of burial space.

Reverend Bruce Nicole, of St Michael's Church, in Camberley, has warned that his churchyard is only two years away from reaching full capacity.

He said graves would either have to be reused or more land purchased.

In January a report by nearby Spelthorne Council warned three quarters of cemeteries in the borough were running out of space.

Mr Nicole said: "It's quite a British tradition that if someone is buried they should be left completely undisturbed. They don't think that way on the continent.

'Handled sensitively'

"You could say one of the reasons we're running so short of grave space is that we're not happy to reuse grave space in the way that previous generations did.

"If you think about small churchyards around village churches they were used over centuries and it was expected that over time some space was used again and again."

Ruth Walker, who is from the Guildford Diocesan Advisory Committee, said if graves are reused the issue has to be handled sensitively and there has to be widespread consultation.

"It's a very sensitive issue and it's something that probably understandably we're all a bit squeamish about, but historically this has been done down the generations," she said.

"So long as it's handled sensitively then difficulties can be overcome.

"There are people who would be deeply distressed. Perhaps if a grave is still being tended or visited then that simply would not be reused."

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