COUNCIL chiefs in Kirklees will meet this week to decide whether to invest £1.7m in improving and refurbishing crematoria in the district.
A proposal drawn up for a contemporary stone and glass building to replace Dewsbury Crematorium has been postponed but council chiefs are proposing that improvement works are carried out at the site.
They are also proposing a series of works at other cemeteries and crematoria including Huddersfield, Lockwood and Batley.
A report to be considered by members of Kirklees Council’s cabinet committee, which meets tomorrow, recommends that the programme of works is given the go-ahead.
The report says: “The programme of works continues the planned improvement to service infrastructure that aims to improve the facilities provided by Kirklees Council to a standard that meets customers’ expectations.”
Since 2002 Kirklees Council has talked about building a new crematorium on the existing site at Dewsbury – but pressures on spending have meant the decision has been taken to postpone the scheme.
The proposal had already been given planning permission and was being built to replace the outdated building, with the current facilities at Dewsbury Crematorium expensive to maintain.
Concerns have been raised that the crematorium needs significant renovation work.
When councillors meet tomorrow they will be told about a programme of works at Dewsbury and other cemeteries and crematorium across both north and south Kirklees.
The proposals to improve and refurbish cemeteries and crematorium across the Kirklees district include:
The major upgrade of three cremators at both Huddersfield and Dewsbury Crematoria involving a complete rebuild and strengthening of the cremators together with the replacement of major components which should extend their life for a for a further 15 years. These works meet the change in the Environmental Protection Act (1990) requiring the removal of mercury from crematorium emissions of 50 per cent by the end of 2012. It is estimated that the cost of these works will be £1.36m.
The introduction of improved music and media facilities at both Dewsbury and Huddersfield Crematoria. The new system will improve the existing outdated media facilities offering an extensive library of online music and allows for both the internal and external broadcasting. It is estimated the cost of these works will be £40k for both sites.
Improved pathways and parking areas at Slaithwaite, Edgerton, Lockwood, Batley and Dewsbury cemeteries.
Following the postponed development of the new crematorium at Dewsbury, a schedule of works including the car park improvements, port-cochre improvements – the area where the hearse stops outside the chapel and families exit the vehicles - and the introduction of weather canopies allowing bereaved relatives time to reflect after the service has ended.
The estimated cost of these works is £250k.
The report adds: “The above schemes are in line with the overall vision for the service which is to deliver an excellent, modern Bereavement Service, which meets the needs of all customers and partners in a sensitive, discreet and caring way.
“The works to replace the cremators at Huddersfield and Dewsbury will be completed before 31 December 2012.
“In additional the service will consult on further measures to improve the customer experience including extending the hours of operation as part of its long term strategy to meet the needs of customers now and in the future,” the report adds.
If members of the council back the proposals a delivery plan will be drawn-up to carry out the programme of works.