EXPAT Scots will soon be able to have their ashes buried in a quiet spot in their homeland – identifiable by smartphone.
Plans have been approved for the ashes and other mementoes of Scots who die abroad to be buried in two square feet plots in a quiet corner of Fife.
The items will be interred without headstones or markers and relatives will trace the spot using their mobiles and a buried microchip.
They will then use a QR code – a form of barcode – to trigger a “life story” website about the deceased expat on their mobile.
But the unique garden of remembrance in Saline, Fife, is not popular with everyone in the area. At least person objected because it is close to a nursing home for the elderly.
The cost of the service is not yet known but Fife Council currently charges £194 for the “interment of cremated remains” and £66 for dispersal of ashes beneath ground.
In what is believed to be a UK first, George Kelly, who owns and sells plots of land in Scotland through company, Land Sales Direct, won permission from Fife Council last week.
His agents, JM Planning Services, said in a statement: “My client anticipates that most of his custom will be from expatriate Scots living abroad and seeking a place of beauty in Scotland to rest the memory of a relative.”
In the planning statement they add: “What is being created is a site offering small, maximum 2 square feet, Scottish Heritage Land Plots in which clients can deposit personal mementos – which would include tiny amounts of ashes in a very small 3 inches by 2 x 1 inches,sealed biodegradable container, in a quiet woodland setting.
“It is anticipated that these items will be from the relatives and friends of overseas deceased persons of Scottish ancestry though local people and others with an affection for Scotland will be welcome to use the service.
“We expect that persons visiting will be the original purchasers or relatives or friends of the deceased where this applies.
“When visiting, they will be able to access details of the memento and the person it belongs to immediately via a discretely-placed QR code.
“The applicants will offer a personalised LifeStory website to accompany the plot and memento that will be accessed digitally by phone or tablet while on the site and near to the interred memento.
“This is very much a digital process with all plots having a QR code that can be activated by visitors’ smartphones when visiting. The land will not be used as a burial ground.”
Last week, Fife Council approved the proposal despite previously rejecting the plans on two occasion after receiving 12 objections.
Among the objections were fears that the memorial garden was the “unsympathetic location of the site” due to it sitting close to Bandrum Nursing Home.
Speaking today, Mr Kelly, 71, said: “The whole idea is quite unique, I don’t think anyone has done this before so I think this is a first. It’s pretty much an electronic garden of memories.
“Each plot will have a QR code which will be located at the area, on a tree for example, then can then go on their smartphone which will show exactly where it is, like GPS.
“There will be nothing you can see, it will be all underground. The area of woodland is so beautiful we don’t want to destroy that.”
Mr Kelly, who hails from Saline, said most of the customers for his existing business were expats and several had asked about being able to bury their ashes in their homeland.
He said: “It’s not a burial but more a garden of memory where items can be stored forever.”
Mr Kelly said he was not sure about the cost yet as “Fife Council took so long with this, we haven’t figured that part out yet”.
Work on the memorial garden is due to start in six months time with plans to open by the end of the year.