Bretby Crematorium has been officially sold for £7.6 million to the Midlands Co-operative Society, the Mail can exclusively reveal.
The news comes after months of controversy after council bosses first revealed plans to sell off the Geary Lane site.
East Staffordshire borough and South Derbyshire district councils, who jointly own the site, will take a £400,000 reduction on the original asking price of £8 million to ensure the Co-op caps its prices for the next four years.
However, the councils said they were unsure what would happen after that time.
The sale has been greeted with fierce opposition, with fears that it will lead to a monopoly and prices will soar.
Members of the public also demanded to know why a debate with them had not been properly conducted.
However, a statement from East Staffordshire borough and South Derbyshire district councils said: “Having listened to residents’ concerns over the last few weeks, both councils have been negotiating with Midlands Co-operative Society to obtain the best deal for the people.
This is very much a case of the ‘public said’ and ‘we did’.
“We have been successful in negotiating on behalf of residents and to this end have secured a legally binding agreement with Midlands Cooperative Society that caps crematorium prices at a level below that likely to have been set under council ownership; maintains existing access arrangements for families and keeps the crematorium to its current excellent standard.
The deal also includes a financial investment of £250,000 by Midlands Co-operative Society to improve the facilities available at the crematorium. As a result of the sale, we will be able to use this significant capital receipt to kick-start further benefit in our communities and neighbourhoods.”
Dawn Morley, of Spring Close, Castle Gresley, who buried her quadruplets in the crematorium grounds said: “I think we knew this was coming but it is a shock. The council has said it will stop the Co-op from putting up prices or restricting access to the grounds, but I think that could change later.”
Former Labour Staffordshire county councillor Jim Muir said: “The only debate was in the chambers when it was decided whether the leader would decide to sell or not.
“What was the advantage of selling in advance of the elections? If they lose their seats, the deal is still done and they will still get the money. They have totally ignored the petition and the protest of the people from Burton and South Derbyshire.”
Kevin Richards, South Derbyshire Labour leader, said: “I am very surprised that they have done this before the elections. It just shows that the councillors who have made this decision have treated the electorate with contempt.”
Richard Grosvenor, leader of the borough council which made the decision to sell, said that instead of the prices increasing to an average of a 30-mile radius, it had now been capped.