I don't! Kettering crematorium wedding venue scrapped after holding just ONE ceremony

"I don’t know why they thought it was a good idea in the first place.”

By Sam Wildman
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 6:00 am

Kettering’s crematorium was scrapped as a wedding venue after holding just ONE ceremony in three years.

From June 2018 happy couples could officially get married at the Warren Hill site after the now-defunct Kettering Borough Council applied for a licence for services to be held there.

They raised eyebrows when they said it was an ‘ideal’ wedding venue, with brides and grooms able to walk down the aisle in the Edgar Newman Chapel or at a new outdoor pavilion if the weather was good.

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The site, as it looked in 2020

This month a Freedom of Information request by the Northants Telegraph revealed just one service had been held there since its launch – and when contacted for comment North Northamptonshire Council admitted they did not renew the licence in 2021 because usage had been so low. The site no longer features in a list of approved venues.

Cllr Clark Mitchell (Lab), who was an opposition councillor when Kettering Borough Council made the move, said: “Why would you want to get married in a crematorium?

“It was a ridiculous idea and it was doomed to fail.

“I don’t know why they thought it was a good idea in the first place.”

The site's outdoor garden pavilion.

When the move was first announced some of our readers said they felt it was ‘disrespectful’ and ‘creepy’, while others said it was no different to getting married at a church.

Kettering Borough Council promised weddings and funerals would not be held on the same day at the site, which incorporates the crematorium, woodland area and burial grounds.

Announcing the plan Cllr Ian Jelley, who was the council’s portfolio holder for strategic delivery, had said: “This is a great idea to improve the services we provide for local people, to make even better use of one of our best assets and to earn additional income for the council tax payers of the borough.”

The Northants Telegraph can reveal the wedding venue made a measly £325 in income from bookings.

Joelene and Sean Lawrence married there in June 2019, becoming the only couple to do so. Their big day was filmed as part of UKTV’s ‘Wedding Fixer’ show.

Weddings were restricted in 2020 and 2021 because of the Covid pandemic. It’s not known if any at Warren Hill were cancelled because of lockdown restrictions.

Hiring Warren Hill for a wedding was priced at £850. Marketing material, which is still available online, said the price had been dropped to £595 as part of an offer.

The total spent on the project and marketing of the venue is also not known.

A North Northamptonshire Council spokesman was not aware of any plans to renew the licence at a later date.

Cllr David Brackenbury, the council’s executive member for growth and regeneration, said: “The aim of using the facility was to provide a reasonably priced, quality venue for weddings.

"There were no significant costs to providing this service as all of the facilities were already available, and to host weddings it was only necessary for a minor rearrangement of the chapel.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and associated restrictions heavily impacted the service and all marketing of the venue was paused.

“As the venue had not been used as expected the licence was not renewed in 2021.”