Crematorium upgrade will mean larger coffins can be accommodated in future

Grieving relatives in Barnsley may now see requests to use Barnsley Crematorium for their loved one’s funeral rejected because the facilities are no longer large enough to cope with the size of some coffins presented for disposal.

Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 15:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 15:47 pm
Ardsley Crematorium, Barnsley

The four cremators on site are around 25 years old and are to be replaced over the next 24 months, in a move which will also remove the predicament for staff in having to explain to some families that they most go elsewhere for a cremation because Barnsley’s facilities are too small to accommodate the coffin.

Two cremators will be replaced over the next 12 months, with the others on site being switched to modern equipment in the following year, with the total cost expected to be just over £850,000.

The current age is the expected top limit for the equipment and it has been calculated repairs over the next decade would be around £810,000 if they were kept in service.

As a result, Barnsley Council’s ruling Cabinet have agreed to finance the project, using money from the authority’s cash reserves which had already been earmarked for the work.

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A report to councillors which justified the project said: “The cremators are already operating at the upper limit of their life expectancy and therefore it is anticipated that they will be well beyond any operating design model for a cremator within that ten year period.

“After ten years, replacement cremators would still be required in addition to the £810,000 of upgrades detailed above. Obviously prices of new cremators will have increased in that time and it is estimated that new cremators may be in excess of £1,000,000 at that point.

“The installation of new cremators is expected to be around £853,000 in total.

“New cremators would future proof our operational capacity for the next 25 years and mitigate the risk of repeated requirements for downtime of the cremators to undertake repair works, which could create delays in cremations, requirements for extended operational hours and staffing at additional cost and reputational damage to the Council.

“Crucially, the newer machines have a larger capacity so are able to accommodate larger coffins, which will mitigate the current issue of having to refuse certain requests due to the size of the person being cremated, which currently means certain families are having to travel outside to neighbouring areas.”

The current crematorium equipment in Barnsley is ranked as ‘red’ on their risk register, meaning there is a strong likelihood of future problems unless action is taken.