Burial space in Reading could run out within seven years.

Reading Borough Council has said unless alternatives are found by 2029, burials will no longer be able to take place in the borough.

Options being explored include maximising the existing space at Henley Road Cemetery in All Hallows Road such as by using verges and existing open spaces.

However, that would extend provision by only three years. Other options include looking for sites either in or just outside Reading which would involve working with neighbouring authorities.

The council may also explore the possibility of returning nearby Henley Road allotments (which are in Chiltern Road) to their original intended use as cemetery land although the council has said that land may or may not be suitable.

A detailed groundwater assessment will take place at the site which will involve creating six to eight small boreholes which will be regularly inspected to establish groundwater levels. Work is expected to begin in September and could take up to 12 months to complete. Allotment holders have been contacted.

Liz Terry, lead councillor for corporate services and resources, said: “The acute shortage of burial space in Reading is mirrored in many other towns.

“While there is no statutory provision for local councils to provide burials in their borough, it is a service we feel strongly should continue to be offered to residents in Reading, which means we are progressing with work to narrow down possible options.

“One of those options is to return the council land at Henley Road allotments to burial ground, as it was originally intended to be. This requires some detailed ground investigations, the results of which will allow the council to include it as an option for future consideration, or to rule it out.

“We thank all allotment holders for their patience while these exploratory works take place, which should not affect the day-to-day use of plots on the site. Council officers have a good working relationship with allotment representatives, and we are committed to keeping them informed at every step of the process.

“I would also emphasise that we are still at an early stage of narrowing down options, which is what the exploratory groundworks are about.”

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