MARY Tavy parish councillors have expressed serious concern that the village’s cemetary is due to run out of burial spaces within three to five years.

At a public meeting held on Thursday evening of last week at the Coronation Hall, Mary Tavy Parish Council chairman Paul Reid stated that only 13 burial plots remained available for purchase and, despite previous efforts, the council is currently not in possession of further land to expand the cemetery.

Cllr Reid said: ‘The parish typically has more burials than cremations. We estimate being full by the latest of 2030 but it is more likely three to five years remain before it is full.’

In a powerpoint presentation delivered to all those present at the meeting, Cllr Reid outlined that the parish council approached former landowners South West Water in 2008 to request the purchase of land adjacent to the current cemetery. Surveys were later carried out in 2014 and the land was found suitable for a mix of burials and ashes interments. Legal work to complete the purchase was then set in motion but the water company set a deadline to sell all of their land in the area and, by 2016, the parish council decided not to continue with the purchase and the land was instead sold to an alternative purchaser.

This new landowner was then approached in the summer of 2020 to discuss purchase of this same land originally offered. The council canvassed for parishioner opinion in late 2021 and the majority of respondents supported the cemetery’s extension. Although initial discussions with the new landowner were ‘encouraging’, an agreement could not be reached. As a result, this avenue was abandoned in September 2021.

The parish council put out a request for any suitable land in November 2022, which would need to meet certain appropriate criteria.

Cllr Reid said: ‘We really don’t have long. I’m 95% sure we will close down within the next few years. If no suitable land is found for an extension, the parish council will close the cemetery when it is full — we will have no other option but to say sorry but we are done. To extend the life of the cemetery, it’s now a case of first come first served; we have now stopped the purchase of plots and are looking at limiting their sale to those who were residents in the parish at the time of death or who had been in the parish for a certain number of years preceeding their death.

‘We’re looking for the most reasonable option and seeking advice from various authorities. Agricultural land costs around five to six thousand pounds for half an acre. Unless we come up with something, we will not have a cemetery soon.’