BICESTER Cemetery could run out of burial spaces within a year.

A solution to the town's shortage has still not been found and time is running out.

Currently there are 28 single burial plots and 31 plots for cremated remains left at the cemetery, which adjoins St Edburg's Churchyard.

ALSO READ: Bicester town council still waiting for new cemetery site

While it is impossible to accurately predict the length of time the unused plots will last, since April 2020, a total of 17 (eight double and nine single) grave spaces were used.

In 2016, land for a new site was identified for the North West Bicester eco development which would sit between a road and a railway embankment and is currently used as agricultural land.

Bicester Advertiser:

The town council has been working closely with the district council to speed up the transfer, but even when this eventually happens, a planning application will have to be submitted for the new burial site and the planning and building process could take up to two years.

Councillor Richard Mould, leader of the town council, said: “We are urgently liaising with Cherwell District Council to expedite the transfer of land at the eco settlement, but even if this were to happen soon, there is still at least two years before the new site could start to be used.

“In the meantime, we are looking into every avenue possible to increase the number of spaces at Bicester cemetery. Unfortunately, we are reaching capacity and will likely run out within a year, so it’s imperative we seek to make alternative arrangements.”

The council is therefore looking at a range of measures to mitigate the shortfall.

Bicester water park resort: A round-up of the story so far

These include appealing for anyone who has pre-purchased a plot to consider selling them back to the council; employing consultants to review the existing cemetery again (the last review took place in 2009); limiting the remaining burial spaces to residents only; and providing burial arrangements outside of Bicester.

Bicester Advertiser:

For the past 20 years, the town council has worked with landowners, developers and Cherwell District Council to find suitable burial space in Bicester.

However, complications relating to the high water table across the town have made it more difficult to find an appropriate site.

Legally, the council does not have to provide burial services, but has chosen to do so under powers within the Local Government Act.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or 01865 425 445.