BEREAVED families will benefit from lower burial fees for family members who have moved out of town within four years of their death.

Hexham Town Council has agreed a sliding scale of fees at St Andrew’s Cemetery, on West Road, for people who weren’t residents at the time of death, but may have been for some time before they moved. It will apply to both traditional and woodland burials.

Hexham mayor Tom Gillanders said the fees, which would be lower that those charged to non-resident, would run for the first four years from the move and would benefit elderly people who had moved out of the area for care purposes.

He said: “The cemetery rules make it clear that a non-resident pays a significantly greater fee than a Hexham resident. The only exception to this is if the deceased has been a Hexham resident, and has lived outside the parish boundary for less than a year, then the resident’s fee applies.

“The town council is aware that with the increasing numbers of elderly residents having to move to care homes, or similar, outside the parish boundary, they are being seen as being penalised through no fault of their own. I, therefore, propose that the discounted fee for residents to a full fee for non-residents should be on a sliding scale over a four or five year period to alleviate some of the financial burden.”