Extra cash granted for Wellingborough crematorium

More than �880,000 of additional funding has been agreed to help plans for a new crematorium in Wellingborough move forward

More than �880,000 of additional funding has been agreed to help plans for a new crematorium in Wellingborough move forward

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More than £880,000 of additional funding has been agreed to help plans for a new crematorium move forward.

The request for extra money was put to members of Wellingborough Council’s resources committee after it was revealed more cash was needed to supplement the initial estimate of £4.7m for the project agreed two years ago.

In a report prepared ahead of the meeting, it said: “At the crematorium member advisory group on 2 July, 2014, there was a general acceptance that the best way to proceed with the crematorium project was for the council’s urgent action procedure to be used to approve additional capital funding to enable the project to proceed.

“The project has already undergone some delays and further delays will add to the costs of the project due to significant levels of cost inflation on building materials in the current market.”

Land for the crematorium has already been bought, with an agreement that the project will be delivered within three years of the sale. If not, the land could be transferred back to the seller at a significant loss to the council.

It is hoped it can be built by December 2015, although this only leaves a three-month window until the three-year timescale runs out, which means delays could put the project at risk.

A council officer said they believed the additional costs would still provide a reasonable return on investment, as well as providing a much-needed service for residents.

Parliamentary candidate for Wellingborough and Rushden Richard Garvie asked to speak at the meeting, and said: “It would be a great facility for the town and borough, but why are we rushing through great amounts of money for this project?”

Cllr Andrew Scarborough said the issue had split the Labour group and said: “Not everyone agrees that spending this amount of money on a crematorium is a good idea.”

But Cllr Martin Griffiths said: “This will be a tremendous facility for the people of Wellingborough and it will turn capital into revenue which is essential for this authority.”

Cllr Malcolm Waters added his support, saying: “I am going to support this because I think it’s a very important project for the town.”

The request for urgent action to approve additional funding of £886,431 for the scheme was approved at Tuesday’s meeting.

A planning application for the crematorium is due to be submitted on October 1.