£2m plan for cemeteries

By Leon Symons, September 26, 2008

The United Synagogue is to spend almost £2 million to ensure that its two main cemeteries maintain operations well into the second half of this century.

But US head of burials Melvyn Hartog is confident that the commitment will not herald an increase in burial fees.

"We run a very tight ship," he told the JC this week. "Nothing is wasted and every penny we spend is accounted for. I believe we will be able to absorb these costs without putting up the fees."

Work is under way on a £700,000 extension to the cemetery at Waltham Abbey in Essex that will come into service before the end of the year.

At the larger Bushey cemetery in Hertfordshire, the extension scheme is likely to cost in excess of £1 million. Mr Hartog estimates that it will be completed in two years.

"The work at Waltham Abbey started six weeks ago to get the new area properly prepared, putting in drainage, roadways and pathways," he said.

Waltham Abbey has between 25,000 and 30,000 graves and has around 300 burials every year. The new 10-acre area "will ensure that the cemetery will be in use for the next 40 years or more."

Similar longevity is envisioned for Bushey, where there are 40,000 graves and 700 burials annually.

Last updated: 5:16pm, September 25 2008