Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
To present the options to Members to consider regarding refurbishment of the existing Crematorium in West Cemetery.
The Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report (previously circulated) updating Members on the current position with regard to the Crematorium, the work undertaken to date and seeking Members’ feedback on the proposed options prior to its consideration by Cabinet at its meeting on 8 October 2019.
The submitted report stated that Darlington Crematorium was the fifth to open in the country in 1901; comprised of a chapel with seating for 65 mourners and an overspill annexe to accommodate 40 standing, a waiting room, vestry and crematory; and that the cremators and Chapel no longer met modern-day requirements.
Information was provided on the requirements to treat cremation emissions; Darlington Crematorium was a member of Cremation Abatement of Mercury Emissions Organisation (CAMEO) and paid a levy to those crematoriums that were abated; that to fund this levy an environmental surcharge of £50 has been charged on top of every adult cremation since 2009, which had increased to £55.
Details were provided on other crematoria in the local area; the number of cremations on an annual basis; and that Darlington Crematorium was expected to have 1650 to 1700 cremations per annum.
Members were advised of the studies taken place on potential options for Darlington Crematorium; and the three options for this Scrutiny Committee to consider; Option 1 – New build/new site; Option 2 – To replace the existing cremators alongside limited improvements to the chapel; and Option 3 – Replace the existing cremators as well as redeveloping the existing chapel into a bereavement service office and new chapel within West Cemetery on part of the land identified for future burials; including advantages, disadvantages and financial implications associated with each option.
Members questioned the possibility of offering environmentally friendly cremations at Darlington Crematorium and details were provided on resomation, a process which used alkaline hydrolysis to cremate remains.
Discussion ensued on the facilities at Darlington Crematorium. Following a site visit by Members it was felt that the Chapel was not fit for purpose and that option 3 was the preferred option. Following a suggestion that a fourth option would be to do nothing, Members were advised that this was not a viable option due to the income generated by the crematorium.
RESOLVED – (a) That the report be received.
(b) That Cabinet be advised that Place Scrutiny Committee identified Option 3 to be the preferred option.
(c) That the views of Place Scrutiny Committee be taken into consideration by Cabinet when considering the Darlington Crematorium Refurbishment at its meeting on 8 October 2019.
(NOTE 1 - A vote on the preferred option was taken by those Members present at the meeting and eight Councillors voted in favour of Option 3 and one Councillor voted in favour of option 2.)
(NOTE 2 - Councillor Boddy was not present at the meeting when the vote was taken.)
Report author: Ian Thompson
Publication date: 24/10/2019
Date of decision: 12/09/2019
Decided at meeting: 12/09/2019 - Place Scrutiny Committee