Money from the sale of Bretby Crematorium will go to rebuilding Uttoxeter Leisure Centre, a council leader hopes.
In an email to the Mail, Richard Grosvenor, leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council, also hit out at Labour members who he said have been vocal about the sale in public but failed to give their views privately.
Councillor Grosvenor was given delegated powers to decide the sale of the Geary Lane site and it was announced on Wednesday that it has been officially sold to Midland Co-operative for £7.6 million.
The Tory councillor said the authority is hoping to spend the capital receipts on a number of projects, saying: “Uttoxeter Leisure Centre is definitely being considered as one of them, but it doesn’t mean other projects won’t be considered.”
He added: “Negotiations for the sale of Bretby Crematorium followed detailed consultation across the council. The deal that has been agreed represents a good deal for council tax payers and a good deal for users of the crematorium.”
Hitting back at what Labour and residents have called a ‘lack of consultation’, he said: “I consulted local councillors before the council entered into detailed negotiations. Unfortunately, despite how vocal they have been in the press, only one Labour councillor responded to my requests for views.
“It is extremely disappointing that Labour councillors seem to be focussing more on how they can use this to win votes than how to get the best possible deal for council tax payers and crematorium users.”
However Julian Mott, Labour leader at the borough council, said: The consultation should have taken place last year when this whole thing started; if a company makes an offer that is when the consultation should take place.
“We are very concerned it has gone ahead. There are no long-term guarantees.”
The consultation, and the contract now agreed on, included future pricing of services at the crematorium, protection of the grounds, continued access to the memorial areas, and future investment in the crematorium.
Councillor Grosvenor added: “The agreement on pricing went further than the original offer from Bretby and commits the Co-op to reduced prices for crematorium users.”
South Derbyshire Labour members and supporters set up a petition which attracted more than 4,000 signatures and a protest was staged at the crematorium.