HEALTHY Penkridge folk could be putting the village’s burial ground out of business.
The Pinfold Lane ground lost cash last year as there were fewer burials than expected.
But despite a major shortfall the parish council has refused to hike up charges and slap bereaved residents with huge bills.
The declining number of burials could be down to several factors, including people opting to have cremations, but parish councillor Bevan Craddock joked at a meeting this month: “We just have too many healthy people in the village.”
Parish council administrator Lynne Hames said: “We always lose some money as it is impossible to guess how many burials there are going to be each year. However last year was particularly bad.”
Councillor Craddock proposed increasing burial fees, currently ranging from £435 up to £824 for exclusive rights for up to 50 years, in line with the rate of inflation in a bid to recoup costs.
Fellow Councillor Anthony Minshall said fees should be put up in line with Stafford Borough Council’s charges, which currently range from £725 to £900. He said the burial ground was a commercial venture, which still had to break even.
But other councillors argued hiking up the prices would not make a huge difference.
Councillor Sandie Morris said: “The two largest costs are staff and maintenance work. We have low numbers of people being buried so we can’t keep putting up costs.” The parish council has also voted to make burials free for children up to the age of one.
Councillor Sean Flynn said: “It is hard enough to lose a baby. I do not think we should even have a discussion about it.”