A CONTROVERSIAL scheme to privatise the management of Haringey's cemeteries and crematorium will begin early next year after a contractor was chosen.
The plan to hand the day-to-day running of the cemeteries in Wood Green and Tottenham, and Enfield Crematorium to private firm Dignity plc was agreed by councillors in November last year to save money.
The council decided on the move to avoid having to find at least £6.6m in the next five years to invest in the service to meet emissions targets and to find new burial plots.
It means that the borough will become the first in London to transfer management to a private contractor, and gives the company a 50-year deal to run the sites.
Councillor Nilgun Canver, cabinet member for environment, said: “Our facilities will get the capital investment needed to bring them up-to-date, but without drawing resources away from other front-line council services.
“On top of this, the borough is guaranteed an annual income, linked to inflation, for up to 50 years. This is a win-win deal for Haringey.
“Residents will experience no change to the service and we have worked to ensure guarantees are in place to care for historic sites and protect biodiversity.”
Dignity plc says it will invest £2m in refurbishing the chapels and public areas at the three sites and council staff will transfer to the provider next year.
Haringey Federation of Residents Associations presented a deputation against privatisation to the council's cabinet last year and asked for a full consultation on the plan.