‘There are not many plots left’ - Cllr Souster

Rye Cemetery ENGSUS00120130910131411
Rye Cemetery ENGSUS00120130910131411

With Rye Cemetery nearing capacity the fight is on to find more burial space in the town.

Rye Rother councillor Sam Souster has said compulsory purchase may end up being the only option.

Rother Council cemeteries officer Rosemary Burt confirmed last year that there is about 10 years’ worth of space left in its two cemeteries in Rye and Bexhill.

Cllr Souster told councillors: “I can advise you that there are not many plots left.

“They are getting desperately close to not having anywhere to inter people.

“Compulsory purchase orders might have to be an option at the end of the day.”

Rye Town Council has identified potential space in the north corner of the cemetery at Rye Hill but has been told that this cannot be used for future burials due to the fact there are at least 1,000 unmarked graves in that area of people from the Rye Workhouse who were interred between 1877 - 1930.

Rye councillor John Breeds said: “In other places they have dug over cemeteries, removed the bones and used the land again. I don’t know what the time scale is for this.”

One option Rye Town Council spoke of was establishing the names of those buried in the unmarked graves and moving the remains to one spot where a memorial would be built, listing all of the names.

Cllr Souster said: “There are numerous conditions relating to the environment and archaeology when it comes to undertaking something like this.

A Rother District Council spokesman said: “At present we have still have capacity for burials at Rye Cemetery, including a number of new plots available for reservation, and there is no shortage of space for the internment of ashes.

“We are actively taking steps to ensure there are sufficient spaces for the long-term future and are currently in discussions with a local landowner to provide additional land for burials. We have kept the town council informed about our plans for the future of the cemetery and will continue to do so.”