Burial space at Solihull’s cemeteries is running increasingly short, with current facilities expected to be full within a few years.
The council is in the process of drawing up plans to increase the number of plots at the two of the three borough sites which still have space available.
The number of interments in the past year was slightly up – there were around 12 per cent more burials (40) compared with the previous 12 months.
Without action the existing areas could be exhausted by the middle of the decade according to the latest estimates.
The pressure on Woodlands, between Chelmsley Wood and Coleshill, has previously been publicised; there are around 220 plots remaining, which could provide capacity for around three more years.
And it was confirmed this month that Widney Manor, at Bentley Heath, is also increasingly full, with around 200 spaces remaining – which would last for a similar time-frame.
However, Cllr Alison Rolf, cabinet member for stronger and safer communities, has said that an expansion plan was taking shape.
“We are looking at options to undertake remedial works at the cemetery, which would provide over a 1,000 further spaces and extend the life of the facility for another decade.”
She said this work would also bolster a dedicated space for the borough’s Muslim community.
Options to “significantly” expand Woodlands are also on the table, but it’s understood that this may prove more challenging.
In 2018, councillors were told that an extension could prove costly and the issue was made more complicated because the site, while operated by Solihull, was in fact just over the North Warwickshire border.
This means that any planning application would have to be dealt with by the neighbouring authority.
At the time, councillors had said it was important to press forward to ensure those living in the north of the borough had access to a local facility.
The third council-owned site – Robin Hood, in Shirley – had effectively run out of space “some time ago.”
The figures, provided by bereavement services this month, relate to those plots which are currently available for sale – others are unoccupied but have already been purchased by families.