STEPS are being taken to increase space for cremated remains at Clitheroe Cemetery.

Cremated remains have until recently been interred either next to a commemorative tree or shrub, or in a designated plot within the cemetery extension.

All commemorative tree plots have been sold, therefore all demand for ashes interments must now be met in the conventional ashes interment area.

The ashes interment plots are provided with a concrete beam which provides a foundation for plaques and headstones, with space expected to run out over the course of this financial year.

Head of environmental health services, Ken Robinson, said: “This arrangement is much more efficient than providing individual foundations for each plot as required and is included in the fee charged for ashes interments.

“The current beam will run out of space during this financial year.

“It is planned to install a further beam in a location parallel to the existing ones to meet anticipated demand. Such a new beam would have the capacity for a minimum of 27 or a maximum of 108 ashes interments [each plot can hold 4 interments].

“It is anticipated that the provision of a further beam would cost £1,553 and it is hoped to be able to construct the new beam over the coming months (subject to approval) in order to be operational from December 2019.

“Once completed, the beam will have the potential to generate total income of £31,000 based on current interment charges.”

Mr Robinson added: "The work to provide an additional ashes beam has become necessary as the current beam will run out of space during this financial year.

"No existing budget is in place for the provision of the beam, but resources are available in the equipment earmarked reserve set aside for this purpose."

Members of the council's health and housing committee will be asked to approve the spend at a meeting next week.

If they do, the decision will be subject to agreement from policy and finance committee regarding the financial implications and budgetary provision.