Councillors have agreed the prices for services at a new crematorium, but not before a debate was held over whether they were too high.
The Nene Valley Crematorium is due to open in Wellingborough later this summer and its pricing structure had been discussed and agreed at a recent meeting of the authority’s resources committee.
They agreed a cremation for someone over-16 with a 40-minute funeral service will cost £899, which would be more than the £806 fee for over-18s at Kettering Crematorium but less than the £999 fee at the crematorium in Northampton.
However, when the committee’s decision came before the full council this week, Cllr Paul Bell put forward an amendment for the costs to be the same or lower than in Kettering.
He said he had been contacted by undertakers who said people will not use the new crematorium as the prices are too high.
Cllr Bell said they had decided to build a crematorium for the people of Wellingborough which would benefit the people of Wellingborough, but he fears people won’t pay these prices.
He said: “It looks like I am going to Kettering Crematorium because I won’t burden my family with the extra costs.”
And went on to say: “I can’t support this so I move an amendment so the charges for Nene Valley are as the Kettering fees or less.”
However, a number of councillors disagreed with Cllr Bell’s idea.
Cllr Lora Lawman said the amendment was ‘very noble’ but that she feels people will be paying for a better service at the new crematorium, including a longer funeral service time so families are not rushed.
She suggested that the prices remain as they were but for the pricing structure to be reviewed after six months.
And added: “Then they will know for sure if there are any problems or not.”
Leader of the opposition group Cllr Andrew Scarborough said: “I think what we had at resources was a piece of very sound logic from a team that knows what they are doing and I think we should trust that our officers have got it right.”
Cllr Jon-Paul Carr said: “The undertaking community may have a view about the prices and I can totally sympathise with them, but at the end of the day it’s up to the families where they want someone to go.”
And he added: “We can look at the prices again in six months’ time and if needs be bring them down.
“The simple thing is to press ahead and get this building open to the community.”
Cllr Tom Partridge-Underwood said the new crematorium will offer something different because there are off-peak prices as well as Saturday and Sunday opening.
Council leader Cllr Martin Griffiths said the crematorium is a ‘fabulous facility’ and warned that the opening would be delayed if councillors decided to refer the prices back for further consideration.
Cllr Bell’s amendment was seconded by Cllr Jonathan Ekins, who said he had also been contacted by members of the public and the undertaking community concerned about the prices, but the proposed amendment was defeated when put to the vote.