Some people wouldn’t be seen dead in an ornate casket on the day of their funeral but anyone who fancies a pop star-style burial in Cheshire West must pay a premium rate.

There will be no extra charge for over-sized coffins when an individual is of larger stature.

However, caskets – very large coffins chosen for their ornate appearance rather than out of necessity – will now be accepted but for an additional charge, due to the extra time and resources needed to prepare the grave and to reflect the additional burial space taken up.

In addition, the maximum permitted size for headstone and kerbs will be increased following feedback from residents.

These rule changes follow a consultation by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) which runs cemeteries in Blacon, Handbridge, Ellesmere Port, Neston and Winsford. The rules cover a variety of areas including the responsibilities of grave owners, the safe installation of memorials and their permitted size.

Blacon Cemetery. Courtesy of geograph

Under 12s must now be accompanied by a person aged 16 or over when visiting a council cemetery.

Feedback showed many people felt strongly that older children may be mature enough to recognise that cemeteries are intended to be peaceful and respectful places, but that younger children may, unknowingly, behave in way that is unsuitable for a cemetery.

This rule change is also for personal safety reasons, as some cemeteries are in very secluded locations. Others, for example, Blacon, have water features, the potential dangers of which children may not recognise.

Rules also apply to commemorative tributes. Grave owners are encouraged to remove any tributes which are broken or dilapidated and to make sure tributes comply with the rules. The aim is to ensure that tributes do not detract from the respectful and tranquil environment while allowing freedom of expression.

Ellesmere Port Whitby ward councillor Karen Shore (Lab). Credit CWAC.

Councillor Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment, said: “Our aim is to provide cemeteries which are safe, peaceful and respectful places. To help us achieve this we have rules which apply to our five cemeteries.

“Following the consultation we have also improved the way our rules are written so that they are easier to read and understand. I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation and gave us their views on this sensitive and emotive subject.”

The council will be undertaking a rolling programme of improvement to help maintain the appearance and the safety of its cemetery grounds. Where appropriate this will include the removal of items which will be done in a sensitive and considerate manner. Where appropriate, items will be stored and made available for collection by the grave owner.

The rules apply only to the five cemeteries operated by CWaC and not to any other cemeteries. The cemetery rules are available on the burials and cremations page on the council’s website.