A VILLAGE churchyard is now full to capacity and unable to provide any new graves.
St Helen’s Church in Tarporley has recently issued a closure notice for the churchyard and wants to transfer responsibility for its upkeep to the parish council.
The church in High Street would no longer be able to afford to maintain the churchyard at an annual cost of up to £4,000 as there would be no fresh income from burials.
Parish councillors discussed the issue at their recent monthly meeting.
If they were to take responsibility they would not only have to maintain the graveyard but also the paths, trees and monuments.
In a letter to the council, the church described the overall condition of the churchyard as ‘good’.
However, members were not convinced and councillor James Blackford reckoned £15-20,000 could be needed to make it safe.
“There are a number of walls and monuments which need a good looking at,” he said.
Members accepted the closure notice but at this stage would not willingly take the churchyard on in its current condition.
Cllr Blackford said they would want to know the results of an inspection of the monuments, which is due to take place soon, before coming to any final decision.
One option that was discussed was if the parish council decided not to take ownership of the churchyard and it was automatically transferred to Cheshire West and Chester Council, they could voluntarily maintain it on the authority’s behalf.
There are currently already a handful of volunteers who give up their time to maintain the churchyard.