IN a letter to the Mail, a Burton funeral director has expressed her concerns over the sale of Bretby Crematorium.
As one of very few independent funeral directors in the area, Sue Barke, of Murrays Funeral Directors in York Street, has said this is a 'very difficult and unsettling time'.
“I WRITE to record my surprise at the comments expressed by Councillor Grosvenor in your paper the other day when he said that funeral directors and clergy did not seem bothered about the selling off of Burton and South Derbyshire’s only crematorium.
As a small independent family-run funeral directors I am very much opposed to this and did write to register my formal objection to the joint board at that time, as I know clergy did too.
I was first contacted about this subject in June last year and attended a meeting at the crematorium for clergy and funeral directors.
I felt that the overwhelming feeling at that meeting was that the sale would be bad for the people of Burton it felt like selling off the family silver and it should remain under the councils’ umbrella. It is a profit-making crematorium and to my knowledge stands very much on its own two feet.
At that time, as now, it certainly seems that the council was and is determined to proceed with the sale. It was asked at the meeting whether any public meetings would be held but the council again has seemed intent on keeping it low key.
Bretby as a crematorium has a superb name and is considered by many to be the best in the area. This is because the staff regularly listen to us, the funeral directors, the users and public, and take account of what is said to improve, something which we commend them for.
I fear that once it is sold the sole motivation for change will be for profit!
As a funeral director I visit other crematoria and feel that those which are in private hands certainly give an inferior service and also charge far more for it and have an underlying emphasis on making money.
Bretby is a wonderful peaceful place with mature well-kept grounds and Burton people are lucky to have it. I would hate to see it turned into a tacky moneymaking operation.
The people of South Derbyshire and East Staffordshire have very little option but to use Bretby, and I feel it is not in their long-term best interest to give the monopoly to any one company, particularly the Co-op.
Undoubtedly, the new owners will raise the cost of funerals to the people of Bur- ton. Their sole purpose is returning a profit. I appreciate the council has a duty to provide value for money for rate payers but do not see how this will realistically be achieved with a sale. As the saying goes ‘when it’s gone it’s gone’.
I was particularly astounded as the ‘hearsay’ is that East Staffordshire will spend their share on refurbishing Uttoxeter Leisure Centre, a worthy cause I am sure, but hardly benefiting the people of Burton.
I am not a historian but understood that the grounds for the crematorium were given to the people of Burton and South Derbyshire by the Carnarvon and Anglesey estates. I wonder what they would think of all of this now? For my own part as a small company this is a very difficult and unsettling time, and as well as truly believing that the sell-off is not in the interest of the families we care for, I am. of course. very concerned at how this will affect my business as it would seem the council is virtually giving one company a monopoly in the area.
I feel the public have not been properly informed of the implications involved with new ownership, and it was something that the crematorium agreed to address at the meeting held last June and has so far failed to do.”