THE cost of dying is set to go up in Eastleigh with a five per cent hike in burial fees.

Town bosses in Eastleigh have given the go-ahead to increase burial fees by £45 from April.

This comes after residents complained about 94 new homes being built “practically on top of the graves” at Eastleigh cemetery.

Now costs are going up with fees for a single depth interment raising from £903 to £948 and the right to scatter ashes going up from £82 to £86.

The increase is above the inflation rate but town bosses said the review of fees and charges reflects the budget requirement to achieve a 4.9 per cent return.

Local residents criticised the rise.

Lisa Field, 41, a photographer, from Netley, is one of the residents who has a family member buried at the Eastleigh cemetery - on land at the back of the new housing development.

She said the decision to increase burial fees after the several complaints about the new homes being built just yards away from the graves is disgusting. She added: “I understand people need to be paid to work and care for the cemetery.

“But it will put people off having to pay more to have their loved ones buried at the Eastleigh cemetery. Was the public consulted about this rise in payment? The council don’t care.”

Many relatives also buy 30-year exclusive rights to secure graves from being dug up for use by other families.

According to the plans, those rights will go up from £785 to £824 for plots for adults and from £320 to £336 for plots for cremated remains. And the fees are doubled if the deceased is not a borough resident - with an exception for those residents who had to move outside the borough for specialist nursing homes or hospital care.

Opposition councillor Steve Sollitt said the increase is excessive.

He added: "I wasn't in favour of it. The council has always used the fees and charges mechanism to freeze council tax but you get to a stage that if you increase them significantly it has a real impact on people."

Council leader Keith House said: “The council has a policy of reducing subsidies for discretionary services and this has helped Eastleigh both reduce council tax in real terms for 15 years and avoid cutting services. We believe our cemetery charges are good value for money given the high quality maintenance we achieve.”

This comes after a research from Funeralbooker, an independent funeral comparison service, showed that burial fees across the county cost £1,409 on average, compared to £1,792 nationally.

Across Hampshire, average burial fees varied from as low as £675 in Bishopstoke cemetery to as high as £1,688 at all other Eastleigh cemeteries, a difference of more than £1,000.

In comparison, cremations cost £796 across Hampshire in comparison with £753 across the UK.