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New Sandwell Valley Crematorium now complete

Published by in English ·

Work to create new offices, a café and courtyard at West Bromwich's £3.25million crematorium is now complete.

New staff offices, improved car and coach parking, a covered walkway and somewhere to get a coffee and a snack now complement the new chapel, which opened last summer.

The Courtyard Café opened two weeks ago and is run by former bereavement services officer Sharon Voice.

Sandwell Council's bereavement services manager Brendan Day said he was very pleased that the project was now complete.

"The new offices, café and walled garden have replaced what was the old 1960s chapel," he said.

"Many mourners who have visited the old crematorium in the past have commented on what a difference the new chapel has made - it's just so light and bright compared to the old building.

"And now we have a café for people who are coming for a service or to lay flowers, we hope visitors will find the whole experience a little easier."

Sandwell Council's Exeutive Cabinet member Cllr Mahboob Hussain said: "The new crematorium and grounds are such an improvement on the old building. It's a more pleasant place for people to visit at what is a difficult time.

"We made a decision to go with a brand new building after the cost of refurbishing the old one came in at more than £3million.

"The comments we have had from bereaved families has been excellent, it was the right decision. We are now providing facilities seven days a week and families are coming from other boroughs to have services at the new Sandwell Valley Crematorium.

"The comments coming back from the families are that it meets the requirements of all communities and that they get very helpful service," Cllr Hussain added.

Builders GF Tomlinson Birmingham Ltd started work on the site in late 2009 and completed work on the chapel itself less than a year later. After the new chapel opened, work continued to partially demolish the old chapel and office buildings to create the new ones.

Phil Walker, construction director for G F Tomlinson Birmingham Limited, said:

"It has been a pleasure to work again with Sandwell Council to deliver such a sympathetic and first class facility for local people and their families for their time of bereavement.

"This project has enabled us to use our extensive experience in delivering projects of excellence in an environment that was kept operational throughout the construction period."

The new crematorium, designed by Martin Critchell Architects, is larger, lighter, brighter and more environmentally friendly than the old building.

It includes state-of-the-art technology such as an online music selection service, where funeral directors and families can upload the songs or hymns they wish to have played.

Large groups of mourners can also watch the services on televisions in a covered area just outside the chapel should the main room, which can hold 125, is full.




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