“IT has tarnished his very existence.”
Those were the words of a Bournemouth dad who says he and his wife have had to keep the ashes of their 13-month-old son in a box because of a wrangle with the council over his burial Luke Loughran says the row has left such a bitter taste that he will now probably pay for a private site.
Luke and his wife Charlotte’s son Ryan was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia when he was just five months old.
He was treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Luke had a flat.
Because the family was living there during Ryan’s treatment, Charlotte informed Bournemouth Borough Council that her flat was empty, so she didn’t have to pay council tax. When Ryan passed away last July, Luke and Charlotte, who are also parents to Louis, two, and Callum, 10, moved back to Bournemouth.
But when they applied to have Ryan’s ashes buried, Luke said the council told them they would have to pay a non-residents’ fee of nearly twice that for people residing in the borough.
Luke said: “They said that, because we were not paying council tax at that particular time, we would have to pay a total of almost £1,000. We explained and told them the reason why council tax was not being paid was because the house was empty while we were in London.
“The whole experience has tarnished his very existence.
“Bournemouth have just not recognised him as a human being – he was born in Bournemouth. I’ve had him in a box for the whole time. Someone should have looked at it and said it’s not a usual situation. Part of me doesn’t even want to bury him in Bournemouth now.”
Council 'willing to talk'...
GARY Josey, service director for housing, parks and bereavement, said: “Our most sincere sympathies are with Mr Loughran during this difficult time.
“When he originally came to us regarding the burial of his son’s cremated remains, we quoted a non-resident fee based on the information he provided us.
“Mr Loughran received an apology from the bereavement services manager but declined to meet with her to try and resolve the issue.
“Since then we have tried to contact him but have not managed to speak with him.
“If Mr Loughran would like to discuss this further we would be very happy to meet with him.”