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.)
The Cabinet Member with the Leisure and Local Environment Portfolio introduced the report of the Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services (previously circulated) providing Members with information on the current position regarding the Darlington Crematorium and the approaching end of life of the cremators.
The submitted report outlined the history of the crematorium; the current situation; stated that the existing cremators within Darlington Crematory were at the end of their lifespan and required replacement with modern, energy efficient and emission compliant equipment; and that the existing chapel required refurbishment/extension.
Particular reference was made to the three options available for the future of the crematorium, namely new build/new site; replace existing cremators and limited improvements to the chapel; and replace existing cremators, redevelop existing chapel into a bereavement office and develop of a new chapel within West Cemetery on part of the land identified for future burials.
Discussion ensued on the level of risk associated with the project; the options available; and the preferred option (Option Three) of replacing existing cremators, redeveloping the existing chapel into a bereavement office and developing a new chapel within West Cemetery on part of the land identified for future burials.
Particular reference was made to the the introduction of the one-way traffic system which would exit onto Salutation Road should Option Three be implemented; the number of vehicles that would use this road/exit; and the implications of the new traffic system on the Allotments on Pond Field Close. The Cabinet Member with the Leisure and Local Environment Portfolio and the Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services responded thereon.
RESOLVED - (a) That the improvements to the Crematorium, as detailed in Option Three of the submitted report, be approved.
(b) That the capital funding of £4.5m, as detailed in the submitted report, be released.
(c) That the capital funding of £0.4m, already approved in the Capital Programme for the laying out of West Cemetery, be released.
(d) That the project for the new crematorium be added to the Annual Procurement Plan, to be designated as a strategic contract, and it be noted that the works will be procured in accordance with the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.
(e) That the Assistant Director (Law and Governance) be authorised, on behalf of the Council, to complete the required deeds and contracts to deliver the works in accordance with the submitted report.
REASONS - (a) To enable the replacement and updating of the current cremators ensuring they meet the requirements of current legislation.
(b) To provide a Chapel that provides the facilities that are expected from a modern Crematorium.