North Herts crematorium £30k business plan agreed

Wilbury Hills Cemetery

Wilbury Hills Cemetery - Credit: Daniel Wilson

A BUSINESS plan costing up to £30,000 to look into the possibility of building a crematorium in North Hertfordshire - which would serve people living in Crow country - has been agreed by members of North Herts District Council’s (NHDC) cabinet.

On Tuesday, members passed a recommendation for a business case to be developed, reviewing options for a facility at Wilbury Hills in Letchworth GC - the site of an existing council cemetery - which will serve people living in Crow country.

Cllr Peter Burt, NHDC’s portfolio holder for environment, said: “As a site already dedicated to burial and remembrance, Wilbury Hills has significant potential to be developed further to provide a full range of options for burial or cremation.

“The business case will look at all the options as to how this could be progressed, but the initial study makes it clear that it could be a good thing for people in North Hertfordshire. They would have a quality crematorium closer to their homes, while the council would generate additional income, reducing the burden on the council tax payer.”

An initial feasibility study put forward to cabinet highlighted that the nearest crematorium for people in North Hertfordshire is either in Stevenage or Luton, or for people in the Royston area, in Cambridge.

The study points out that each of these is likely to be over half an hour away from the four main towns in North Herts, given the speed at which a funeral cortege is likely to move.

The study estimates that the site would attract a minimum of 560 cremations a year and indicates that this figure could be closer to 700 – nearly three a day, based on Monday to Friday opening.

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It concludes that these numbers would be sufficient for the crematorium to be profitable, but also allows for sufficient time between services, to give mourners a sense of space and privacy.

The initial investment required to build a new crematorium on the site would be approximately £2.8 million, with an estimated annual income of at least £455,000 a year.

The business case will now be developed for further consideration by cabinet later this year.