A petittion which aims to prevent the sale of Bretby Crematorium is expected to attract thousands of signatures.
Kevin Richards, labour leader at South Derbyshire District Council, who helped set up the lobby, said the support it had received so far had been ‘excellent’.
It was revealed that the crematorium — jointly owned by the district council and East Staffordshire Borough Council — may be sold to Midlands Co-op for £8 million, angering local people who believe fees would increase and the grounds used to scatter the ashes of loved ones would be ruined.
Castle Gresley resident Dawn Morley, who scattered the ashes of her quadruplets almost four years ago, spoke to the Mail about her worries that restrictions may be placed on when families can visit the ground and what items can be left in memory.
Tory councillor Richard Grosvenor, leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council, has said discussions were still ongoing with Midlands Co-op to ensure the grounds would remain intact and worries were addressed.
In a meeting with the Mail, Councillor Grosvenor and the borough council’s chief executive Andy O’Brien said the company set to take over the running of the Geary Lane site would ensure fees remained at an average for the region, and it would pump an extra £250,000 into the deal to revamp the site.
The aim of the petition is to prevent the deal from going ahead and keep ownership of the crematorium in the hands of the taxpayers.
Councillor Richards said: “It shows how concerned people are that the service may be sold to a private company. Bretby has the lowest rates in the area and so averaging this price means there is leeway to increase the fees.”
The petition has been available in the town on the last two weekends for South Derbyshire residents to sign and is now available in electronic form.
The Labour leader added: “The support we have had is excellent. People have been queuing to sign the petition.”
The sale of the crematorium will be discussed during the exempt part of the finance and management committee on Thursday.
The petition will be available at the weekend from 9am to 1pm in Swadlincote’s High Street, from 1pm onwards at Morrisons, and all day at Sainsbury’s.
Signatures will also be collected at Newhall’s Old Post Centre, in High Street.
The electronic petition is available by visiting www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-bretby-crematorium