PENARTH Cemetery is set to run out of burial space in the next three years with the town council looking into whether it can provide “alternative offerings” for cremated remains.

Penarth Town Council is set to meet with the Columbaria Company, who specialise in cremation memorials, and the Cardiff Bereavement Service in a bid to extend the use of the cemetery for local residents.

A report that went before the Penarth Town Council leisure and amenities committee last night, March 27, said that officers and the town clerk had met with the Columbaria Company to establish whether Penarth Cemetery has suitable space for columbaria or alternative offerings for cremated remains.

Town Clerk Shan Bowden told the committee that the space for “full internments” would be fully used within the next three years but that space for cremated remains would still be available after that time. She added that the committee had previously agreed to look into the possibility of columbaria to extend the availability of space.

The report before the committee outlined that the two main options were “scatter lawns” or “above ground vaults”.

Scatter lawns could be supported by “scatter towers” upon which relatives could lease a plaque for a given number of years, with ten recommended, to commemorated loved ones.

“Costs would include preparation of the lawn area, a plinth upon which to place the scatter tower and the cost of the tower, currently £5,200,” the report said.

“The tower would come with 80 blank plaques at a cost to the council of £130 per plaque. The plaques are then leased at a typical cost of £450 for the ten year period to produce £25,600 of revenue.”

The report said that an alternative to a plaque on a scatter tower would be plaques on garden kerb blocks along the top road path, with the cost of a kerb block £65 and an inscribed plaque £65 each, with the plaque to be leased for a given time. The Columbaria Company would suggest a minimum of 20 kerb blocks to begin with at a cost of £2,600.

Another option would be ‘above ground vaults’ that would hold caskets of cremated remains.

“It is suggested that a suitable location would be in front of the screen to the side of the footpath off Castle Avenue, costs would include preparation of the ground to include a level foundation and the cost of the sanctums which vary in size from 12 vaults upwards at a current day cost from £4,020.” The individual vaults are leased typically for ten years, with the chance to renew the lease or take ownership of the casket or cremated remains can be scattered on a scatter lawn.

Representatives from the Columbaria Company are set to attend a future leisure and amenities committee meeting to discuss the options and answer any questions councillors have.

Martin Birch, operational manager of Cardiff Bereavement Service (CBS), has advised caution on columbaria as it has not proven popular at Thornhill Crematorium. He is set to provide a report to Penarth Town Council on how to best plan for the future of Penarth Cemetery.

The report added that any future decision about future cost implications “will need to be built into future rolling programme budgets”.

Chairwoman of the committee Councillor Rhiannon Birch, who represents the Cornerswell ward, added: “We have to look forward if we are going to run out of internment spaces in the next few years.”