Borough council panel pitches plans for new Northampton crematorium

Counties Crematorium says the borough council should decide if a new crematorium is "the best use of taxpayers money".
Counties Crematorium says the borough council should decide if a new crematorium is "the best use of taxpayers money".

A squeeze on cemetery space could see a borough council-operated crematorium built in Northampton.

Northampton Borough councillors pitched an idea to build a new crematorium at a cemeteries scrutiny committee last night (September 27).

They hope it will help solve capacity issues with Northampton's graveyards while opening up a new source of revenue for the borough.

But a private crematorium in Northampton says the borough council should "decide if this is the best use of taxpayer's money".

Chair of cemeteries councillor Brian Sargeant said: "A Northampton crematorium will bring in revenue for the borough in the long-term and help save space in our graveyards.

"There is a council-owned crematorium in Wellingborough and Kettering and their rates are much less expensive than a privately run one, like the Counties Crematorium in Milton Malsor. Meanwhile, Northampton's cemeteries need more space.

"If you are in the north of the town it's nearer and cheaper to go to Wellingborough for a cremation service."

A new crematorium built in Wellingborough in 2016 cost £5.5million.

Councillor Sargeant says the town's cemeteries need more space for "green burials" using wicker or cardboard coffins, and cremations would help save on space.

But a spokeswoman for the Counties Crematorium said: "Building a new crematorium requires significant investment. Operating a crematorium is also an expensive business as a new cremator could cost £0.5 million and most facilities will require two cremators. Therefore, any local authority would need to decide if this is the best use of taxpayer’s money when this need is already being met.

"It’s difficult to predict the impact of a new crematorium on our business without knowing the exact location and planning permission being granted. However, Counties Crematorium has capacity to increase the number of funerals per day should this be required."

Kingsthorpe Cemetery, the largest in Northampton, has 38,000 internments over approximately 19,000 grave spaces.

Northampton Borough Council are responsible for the upkeep of 23 cemeteries in the town through their environmental services contractor Enterprise.