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Bereavement Services

Meeting: 06/06/2017 - Heritage, Culture and Leisure Committee (Item 18)

18 Bereavement Services - Developing Services pdf icon PDF 74 KB

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The Head of Environment and Public Realm gave a presentation to the Committee regarding the future development of Bereavement Services.


It was noted that, in June 2016, this Committee agreed to submit a planning application for a pet crematorium and car park expansion at Vinters Park Crematorium. This was based on a business case which was prepared prior to the original agreement by Cabinet in February 2015. A new business case had since been prepared because it was deemed appropriate to update it according to current market conditions. Using the data, it was projected that the Capital payback would be between 7 and a half and 12 years depending on the level of direct sales achieved, which presented a greater risk compared to the previous business plan.


The Head of Environment and Public Realm advised the Committee on options that were available to improve the cemetery, for both staff and the public. In response to a question raised by the Committee, the Head of Environment and Public Realm assured the Committee that there was still significant capacity at the cemetery and agreed to include the future capacity of the cemetery in the business case when it was presented to the Committee.


The Committee considered whether off site storage was an option for paper records. However, the Head of Environment and Public Realm advised the Committee that a large number of people came to the crematorium in order to speak with the Cemetery Officer and view the records there.


In response to questions from Members, the officers explained that:


·  It was the storage area at the Crematorium that required fire proofing, rather than the records.


·  The money allocated in the Capital Programme for the Pet Crematorium would be carried forward as this project was not sustainable at this time.


·  It was not necessary to refer the issue for capital funding back to the Policy and Resources Committee.




1.  That the Pet Crematorium project be suspended and reviewed in 2020/21, or sooner if markets dictate or partnership opportunities can be identified.


2.  That Bereavement Services will focus on the delivery and improvement of its core business.


3.  That £220,000 set aside in the Capital Programme for the Pet Crematorium be invested in the expansion of the Vinters Park Crematorium car park and improvements to disabled access.


4.  That £30,000 from the Capital Programme be used for heat recovery from the cremators and fire proofing the storage area for paper records held at the Crematorium.


5.  That a business case be prepared and presented to this Committee seeking Capital funding for improvements at Maidstone Cemetery, specifically the repair and reopening of the Chapel and the dismantling of the disused Groundsman’s House and extension of the Cremated Remains Section.


Voting: Unanimous