Tower Hamlets Council has signed a 125-year long lease on a multi-faith burial ground. The new burial site in Sidcup in Bromley, just a short drive from the borough, will secure burial plots for the use of Tower Hamlets residents when the number of graves both nationally and locally is diminishing.
Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman visited the site on 20 March. Members of the community and media personnel accompanied him during his visit.
In October 2014, SunLife Direct’s annual Cost of Dying report showed that funerals are increasingly becoming unaffordable for ordinary people. The average cost of a funeral had increased by 87 per cent since 2004 – and the cost in London at £4,836 is hugely unaffordable for a large proportion of the borough’s residents.
The acquisition of the £3 million site that is circa 6.2 acres will help make the cost of burials more affordable for local residents burying their loved ones.
Tower Hamlets is one of the most densely populated boroughs in London. As such, space is at a premium, and the cost of land in the borough is very expensive. The council has been searching for a site for many years now, and looked outside the borough to find one that was reasonably priced and met our requirements.
The Mayor agreed in Cabinet that the council would charge £650 per burial. This will cover the cost of the burial plot, as well as the interment.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, said: “Establishing a multi-faith burial ground for the people of Tower Hamlets has been one of my priorities for a long time. Announcing it today is a real achievement.
“Before today, we had no operational burial site – and residents would have to go elsewhere, where they would face premium charges. Many of our most vulnerable families in the borough could not afford this – and this resulted in burying loved ones becoming a privilege for the most well-off.
“Now we have an affordable space, where it is accessible for all residents, of all faiths, to rest in peace.”
Cllr Rabina Khan, cabinet member for housing and development, said: “This is something that people in Tower Hamlets have been calling out for some time. Given the increasing cost of living, to deliver a site where people can afford to bury their loved ones is a real achievement for the council.”