Agenda item

Abbey Road and Crematorium Update

The report of the Executive Manager – Transformation is attached.


Abbey Road Development


The Executive Manager – Transformation advised the Group that the contract with the developer for Abbey Road had not exchanged and, it would therefore not be appropriate for the developer to come to this meeting and the item would be carried forward to the next meeting of Growth and Development Scrutiny in January.




The Executive Manager – Transformation delivered a presentation on the crematorium and provided the Group with the background from a feasibility study completed in 2017/18, which highlighted a strong level of need in Rushcliffe, along with a financially viable acquisition of an appropriate site identified at Stragglethorpe, Cotgrave.


The Executive Manager – Transformation advised the Group that Cabinet at its meeting in November 2018 had supported the principle of a new provision and planning permission was secured in September 2019. In December 2019 Cabinet approved the land purchase and in September 2020 the Council appointed a project management and design team.


The Executive Manager – Transformation provided information on how the scheme was progressing and highlighted some of the key features as follows:


·       Strong focus on green credentials and a modern facility

·       Sympathetic to the landscape

·       Focus on user experience

·       A single storey building, with a single chapel and a capacity for 120 mourners, including potential overflow space

·       Potential for a viewing/committal space, in response to cultural shifts

·       Car parking for 90 vehicles

·       Potential for electric, rather than gas cremator, to support the Councils’ carbon neutral target

·       Potential for the chapel garden to be visible from within the chapel and is proposed to include a reflective water feature

·       Memorial gardens

·       Natural landscaping design to blend in with the surroundings


In response to the proposal for an electric cremator rather than gas, the Executive Manager – Transformation explained this would be one of the first electric cremators in the UK, it could run on a full green renewable tariff and would mean that no gas supply was required for the building, producing 90% less CO2 and 50% less NOx emissions with a catalytic reduction.


The Executive Manager – Transformation provided the Group with a number of photographs and architectural visuals of modern crematoria buildings and advised the Group that the appointed architect Benchmark have designed multiple crematoria buildings throughout the UK, including more recently as  examples, Hinckley and Bosworth and Netherhouse Farm in Waltham Abbey.


The Executive Manager – Transformation explained the crematorium will be operated on an in house model, as this is the most financially beneficial option for the Council and would enable the Council to maintain control of quality of service to residents, the primary focus being on user experience. In supporting this decision the Executive Manager – Transformation advised the Group that officers have been in communication with stakeholders including the City Council, Wilford Hill and Bramcote crematoria and  local funeral directors within the Borough and are working on plans for some further community engagement with local residents and businesses.


In concluding the Executive Manager – Transformation provided a timeline, highlighting the next steps as follows:


Finalise designs and prepare tender pack for build

October 2020 - Jan 2021

Construction procurement process


February - April 2021

Operation project planning and execution eg Recruitment, Training, Branding, Marketing, Audio/Visual, Licenses


November 2020 to

April 2022

Appoint construction contractor


March 2021

Commence works on site


April 2021

Build Completion


March 2022

Training and snagging


March/April 2022



May 2022


The Chairman welcomed the concept of the development and commended the Council’s focus on green credentials and a modern friendly design. The Chairman asked specific questions in respect of the electric cremator and whether anything had been considered as a standby or back up should there be an interruption in the electricity supply. The Executive Manager – Transformation explained that a backup resource would be difficult to include, once the cremator is switched on,  it can take up to 3 days to reach temperature.  Members asked if officers had considered the close proximity of a solar farm as a viable resource to provide power. The Executive Manager – Transformation advised this is on the projects work programme to explore.


In respect of parking spaces and alternative travel options, members asked whether there were sufficient public transport links as an alternative to using cars. The executive Manager - Transformation advised that there is a bus stop located close to the site entrance and that pedestrian access would form part of the plan.


Members asked whether the Council had considered other use of the venue to support other events to increase income opportunities and whether two cremations per day is financially viable. The Executive Manager – Transformation explained that the Business Plan provides a low estimate of 750 cremations a year, which equates to 2 per day. However, it is expected based on local demand that the facility would provide nearer 1600 cremations per year, equating to 5 plus per day, and that the Council were already receiving enquiries and interest in bookings and are confident this can be achieved.


In respect of the operating model, members questioned how officers were planning to maintain the quality and service. The Executive Manager – Transformation explained that the Council’s preference is to maintain an in house operation, to focus on user experience and to provide a respectful and dignified service. The Council aims to recruit experts from the industry, combined with the front of house customer experience that Rushcliffe Borough Officers are already accomplished in.


Finally, members asked who will approve the final plans and whether a name for the crematorium had been decided and who will make the final decision on this also. The Executive Manager - Transformation explained that Cabinet would make the ultimate decision on plans and name, however officers would welcome ideas from the Group and invited members to provide suggestions to the Democratic Service Team who will make a list for Cabinet to consider.


It was RESOLVED that the Group approve the key design elements of the crematorium.













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