Southam has nowhere to bury lost loved ones - and no action is being taken

The graveyard at St James' church in Southam.
The graveyard at St James' church in Southam.

Concerns are growing over the lack of space for future burials in Southam as the town’s authorities fail to agree on who should take responsibility over building a new cemetery.

St James’ church’s graveyard serves the town - but the space is now full and there are no plans as yet in place to build a new one.

Southam resident Cathey Grove told the Courier: “Both the council and the church say ‘it’s not our problem’.

“The upsetting part of this is that no one seems to be aware of the problem until they are faced with having to plan a funeral.

“People who have lived in Southam their entire lives are being laid to rest in surrounding villages that they have absolutely no connection to.”

Debbie Carro, clerk to Southam Town Council, said neither the town council nor Stratford District Council are the burial authority for the town - and a request put forward by the town council for the district council to become the burial authority was voted out by district councillors.

She said the Coventry Diocese, which manages St James’ church, has not offered to take charge of the situation either, so the town council is now looking for suitable land which is available for building a burial ground on.

The council would then look into how much it would cost to create a burial ground and if that would be something council taxpayers would want to pay for. Mrs Carro said: “Perhaps a referendum could be held. But we are nowhere near that stage yet.

“This is a major thing for the town. It is frustrating that the Diocese has land in Southam but is choosing to develop it into housing.”

A Coventry Diocese spokesman said: “The sticking point is not simply the provision of land. The main issue relates to who should take responsibility for the creation of the cemetery and its on-going maintenance. We would welcome further discussions with Southam Town Council in order to resolve this important matter.”