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Cemeteries and burial service - frequently asked questions

Graves and interments

 Grounds maintenance


Memorial inspections



Graves and Interments


How many people can be interred into a grave space?

It is the Council's policy to excavate all new graves at 1.93m to accommodate two interments. In addition to this, up to four cremated remains caskets can be interred.


How many people can be interred into a cremation plot?

Two interments of cremated remains can take in a cremation plot. The remains must be placed in a wooden or biodegradable casket prior to the interment.

Can I arrange for the interment of ashes directly with the Council?

Yes, it is possible to arrange the interment or the scattering of cremated remains directly with the Council. A charge will be payable. Upon collection of the remains from the Crematorium, the remains need to be transferred from the original plastic container into a wooden or biodegradable casket. The cremation certificate will need to be handed to the Council's representative in attendance at the Cemetery before the interment of the casket takes place. Some guidelines have been produced to order to help you.


What is an exclusive right of burial?

The Exclusive Right of Burial entitles the registered owner:

The purchase of Exclusive Right of Burial is equivalent to a "lease" granted by the Council. It should be remembered that the Council is the land owner and controls and manages the cemeteries through its regulations.


What happens when the exclusive right of burial has expired?

The Grant of Exclusive Right of Burial is issued for a period of 30 years renewable for successive periods of 30 years. Application should be made for renewal of the Right within 12 months of the expiry of the previous Grant and the relevant fees paid. If no application is submitted to the Council, the Council may renew the Right of Burial to another person, but before doing so, will attempt to contact you and give the option of renewal.

Remember that it is therefore extremely important that you keep in touch with the Council and should you move to a different address in the future, please inform the Cemeteries Officer who will update the records.   


The owner of the exclusive right of burial has died what do I do now?

Following the death of the owner of the exclusive right of burial, the next of kin/executor should produce to the Council the probate of the will, letter of administration, or other relevant information, so that the change in ownership can be registered.


Why should I transfer the grave rights when we will not be using it again?

The law requires that the owner of the Exclusive Right of Burial be entered into the Register.

Upon the death of the owner, a legal transfer of ownership is necessary in order to transfer the lease of the grave to a living person. The Register is updated with the new owner's details. Included with the Exclusive Right of Burial is the Right to erect a memorial. Responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the memorial lies with the owner of the Exclusive Right of Burial.

The Council will need to contact the new grave owner to invite them to renew the grave and memorial rights when they have expired and may need to contact the owner to advice of problems associated with the memorial or for other operational reasons.

Remember that it is therefore extremely important that you keep in touch with the Council and should you move to a different address in the future, please inform the Cemeteries officer who will update the records.   


Can I reserve a grave space in advance of any burial taking place?

Yes you can. The person who wishes to be registered as owner of Exclusive Right of Burial for a grave can reserve and grave by filling in and returning to the Council the application form to purchase the Exclusive Right of Burial PDF (68 KB) together with the appropriate fees payable.

This application form may also be used by a person who wishes to purchase the Exclusive Right of Burial retrospectively for an unpurchased grave where an interment has already taken place.


Can I sell back to the Council an unused grave?

Yes. The Council will buy back graves which have not been used for burial and will refund the amount paid at the time of purchase less an administrative fee.


Grounds Maintenance


Who maintains the cemeteries?

All grounds maintenance tasks are undertaken by the Council's Grounds Maintenance team who are based at the Council depot in Wallington.


What grounds maintenance is undertaken in the cemeteries?

The grounds maintenance undertaken in Fareham's cemeteries includes grave digging, disposing of funeral wreaths and reinstating graves after a burial, grass cutting, shrub bed and hedge maintenance, litter picking and emptying of bins.

When will the grave be re-instated?

After an interment has taken place a certain amount of consolidation of the disturbed ground will occur. The gravediggers will routinely top up the level of soil to maintain a level appearance.

During periods of heavy rain the amount of consolidation can be greater than normal. Gravediggers may require to repeat this re-levelling work several times until consolidation has stopped. Reseeding usually takes place within 12 months of the burial date; however this is subject to the season being appropriate.




Can I make an application to erect a memorial direct to Fareham Borough Council?

Yes you can, but your chosen Memorial Mason normally does this for you. If the memorial mason fills out the memorial application form PDF (96 KB)on your behalf, you must be the rightful owner to the grant for the 'Right to Burial' in order to sign the form.


Can I erect a memorial on the grave space myself?

No, memorials are extremely heavy and dangerous structures and therefore have to be mounted using industry approved fixings and installed by a suitably qualified and registered Memorial Masons.


Why do I have to make an application to erect a memorial as I own the exclusive right of burial?

To protect your rights, as the Council must check that the person applying for the Right to Erect a memorial is the person who holds the Exclusive Right of Burial for the grave. It is also an opportunity for the Council to check your contact details, that the Exclusive Right of Burial period has not expired, that the proposed memorial work complies with the cemetery regulations and that the appointed memorial mason is registered.

Upon receipt of the application, the Council issues a permit for the memorial work to the memorial mason and a Grant for the Right to Erect a memorial for a period of 10 years, renewable every ten years but not exceeding the period of exclusive Right of Burial.

Remember that it is therefore extremely important that you keep in touch with the Council and should you move to a different address in the future, please inform the Cemeteries officer who will update the records. 


Why is the grant owner of the 'right to burial' the only person allowed to apply for the erection of a memorial?

Following bereavement,  family disputes can sometimes occurr, in order to avoid expensive legal conflict between family members this policy is rigidly enforced.


How much will it cost to renew my grant for the right to erect a memorial?

All new memorials are issued initially with a ten year grant, following testing the owner will be notified of the results and should the memorial pass the grant will be extended for a further ten years on receipt of nominal fee (set at 20% of the current application fee), but not exceeding the period of exclusive Right of Burial.

Remember that it is therefore extremely important that you keep in touch with the Council and should you move to a different address in the future, please inform the Cemeteries officer who will update the records.   


What type of memorial can be erected in the cemetery?

There are specified guidelines for memorials within the cemetery, these are as follows:


Who is responsible for repairs if the memorial fails its health and safety check?

If the memorial is less than 10 years old it is possible that the memorial mason who constructed and erected the memorial will do the repairs under warranty providing it has not been vandalised or subjected to storm damage. If the memorial is out of warranty it is the responsibility of the grant owner to arrange suitable repairs or have it removed to a place of safety (not within the cemetery grounds unless it is laid down directly and safely on the relevant plot).


Why do the regulations seem so harsh?

The burial authority has a duty of care to ensure that the cemetery is properly managed and is a safe environment for anyone to visit regardless of the purpose of his or her visit.


How much does it cost for a memorial?

This very much depends on your requirements. This is normally negotiated between yourself and with a memorial mason of your choice. The fees listed by the Fareham Borough Council only relate to the rights for erecting a memorial.


What should I do if I see an unsafe memorial that looks like it has been abandoned?

Don't touch it. Note where it is located and report it as soon as possible to the Cemeteries Officer by phoning 01329 236100.


What other memorials are permitted other than headstones or tablets?

People often like to dedicate a tree or bench to a loved one. Please contact the Cemetery Officer and we can advise and arrange everything for you.


Why can't I plant my own tree/bush or install my own bench?

The roots of trees and bushes often pose problems with root spread into grave areas and if they are badly placed they get in the way of routine grounds maintenance. Benches purchased from local retailers are not suitable for public use and can rapidly deteriorate if not regularly maintained. Benches also have to be properly secured to a solid platform to avoid accidental tipping, theft and abuse.


What can I place on or around my headstone?

The majority of cemeteries are of a lawn design and the positioning of kerbs and fencing (even low level) is not permitted as they restrict access to cemetery visitors and can cause tripping hazards. These types of obstructions interfere with our routine maintenance and may be broken or damaged as a result.

Floral tributes and the planting of small annual bedding plants, bulbs and miniature shrubs are welcome providing that they are confined within the memorial border and that the width of the memorial border is not altered in any way.

The placing of items such as lanterns and chippings is not permitted on any part of the grave or memorial border.


Why do my fresh flowers keep getting damaged?

If the flowers are not kept on the base of the monument or in a loose vase nearby it is possible that it has got in the way of grounds maintenance equipment although the operators are instructed to be as careful as possible. Most fresh flowers are damaged by wildlife (i.e. deer and rabbits) that find them irresistible to eat. It is impossible to keep wildlife from accessing the cemetery.


Memorial Inspections


Why are memorial inspections necessary?

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 External Hyperlink requires all burial authorities to ensure that memorials are safe and so reduce the potential for injury to those working in and visiting Fareham's Cemetery. Although reports of serious incidents involving unsafe memorials are relatively rare nationwide, there have been fatalities and the risk of incident grows with the passing of time and the increase in the number of memorials. The Health and Safety Executive expects local authorities to have a suitable memorial inspection programme.


When will the inspections be carried out?

All memorials within the cemetery will be periodically inspected as part of a continuous safety programme. This will normally be every five to seven years. Memorials that do not present an immediate danger but may have some defects or deterioration may be inspected more frequently.


How will the inspection be carried out?

The process will consist of:

The industry agreed safety standard for measured pressure testing (based on advice from the Health & Safety Executive / Institute for Cemetery and Crematorium Management) is a pressure of 35kg applied using an appropriate measuring device. All testing is carried out by trained staff using specialist equipment. Every effort will be made to contact the owners of memorials that have failed a stability test and offer advice on what to do next.


Will the stability testing damage memorials?

No. The measuring equipment used is extremely accurate and sensitive. This ensures that only the specified testing force is applied to the memorial. The slightest movement of the memorial is detected allowing the testing to stop. This means that there is no risk of the test damaging a secure memorial.


Will memorials be laid flat?

As memorials that fail a stability test can represent an immediate danger, they will be fitted with a temporary support whilst the grave owner is contacted. This is only a temporary measure and in the event that the owner cannot be traced, the Council follows recommended health and safety guidelines.

In some instances where it is impractical to fit a temporary support and where there is an immediate danger, unstable memorials may be laid flat temporarily.


Will memorials be removed from graves?

Memorials may be removed from graves if a memorial falls in disrepair and the memorial owner cannot be contacted or does not take any action to repair or remove the memorial within a specified time when the Rights of Exclusive of Burial and Memorial rights have either not been purchased or have expired.

Remember that it is therefore extremely important that you keep in touch with the Council and should you move to a different address in the future, please inform the Cemeteries officer who will update the records.  

The removal of memorials situated in consecrated areas of our cemeteries can only be undertaken if a faculty authorising the proposed works has been granted to the Council by the Chancellor of the Diocese.

The Council aims to protect and enhance the environment we live in, values our heritage and supports restoration projects to conserve memorials of special historic interest.




What are the regulations relating to the burial and cemetery service?

The Council's cemetery regulations were approved by the Executive on 5 December 2011.


Can I obtain a plan of a cemetery?

Yes. However, due to the large size of some plans it will not be possible to provide a full sized copy. It will be possible in most instances to provide a copy of the relevant section where a particular grave is located.


Are you able to tell me if my relatives are buried in one of the cemeteries in Fareham?

A search can be made using the Council's burial record search. This facility provides details of all the people that have been buried in the Council's Cemeteries.


Are there any natural or woodland burial sites in Fareham?

There are currently no natural or woodland burial sites in Fareham. However burials of this nature are provided locally in southern Hampshire at the South Downs Burial Site in East Meon or in the Warblington cemetery External Hyperlink in Havant.


Can I have my favourite pet buried?

No. A pet may not be interred in any of Fareham's cemeteries. However, there is Dignity External Hyperlink Pet Cemetery in Hook, Hampshire that maybe able to help you.


What are the fees and charges relating to the cemetery service?

The Council's cemetery fees and charges PDF (82 KB) are reviewed annually for all functions of the burial service.


What if my question isn't answered here, what do I do?

If you would like any further information please contact the Cemetery Officer on Tel: 01329 236100 or e-mail


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