Agenda item

This report provides details of three options for consideration, and a summary of the work undertaken by Officers, for delivery of a new cemetery site in North Waltham.

 

Recommendation from the Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services and the Environment and Cabinet Member for Property and Development

Decision:

1)    Approve the option for Dignity to provide a cemetery linked under the one site solution which includes the operation of the current crematorium. In accordance with this option, for the Council to enter into an agreement for a lease with Dignity and then complete a new lease (concurrently with the surrender of the current lease) on the obtaining of planning permission for the provision of a cemetery at the North Waltham site.  

 

2)    Delegate the detailed terms and conditions associated with the agreement for lease, surrender of the current lease and grant of a new lease, and any other supplementary legal, management of other agreements that may be required to facilitate delivery of the proposed new cemetery service under the one site solution, to the Executive Director of Borough Services in consultation with the Executive Director of Finance and Resources and the Head of Law and Governance.

 

3)    Approve the recommendation for officers to develop and implement a pilot travel scheme to test community bus provision against other options as set out in this report.  This approach will allow ongoing evaluation of demand whilst identifying the most suitable and viable solution.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services and the Environment introduced the report, which set out options for the delivery of a new cemetery site in North Waltham as the Worting Road cemetery is reaching capacity.  She stated that following a decision to continue to provide a cemetery service in the borough, the North Waltham site was purchased.  Three options had been considered; to stop providing the service; develop and manage a cemetery at cost to the council; or enter into a lease and management agreement with Dignity, which was the preferred option.  She stated that the preferred option would offer the council the greatest control and influence for future service provision and reduce the council’s future likely expenditure. She added that the proposal from Dignity addressed all of the council’s requirements and would cater for all faiths and groups.  Furthermore a charge for standard burial provision would be made available to borough residents based on the councils current fees, there would be joint branding to link the service to the council, local monumental masons and funeral directors would not be disadvantaged by any agreement with Dignity and service provision would meet or exceed that currently achieved by the council.  She further addressed resident’s concerns regarding travel to the North Waltham site stating that officers were looking at options for a travel scheme and that it would need to be addressed as part of Dignity’s planning application.

 

The Cabinet Member for Property and Development supported the proposal to an agreement with a national provider to provide a one-site solution with the cost of the new development borne by Dignity.  He added that the agreement would give the council a share of Dignity’s revenue from cremations and burials from April 2019.  The council would continue to provide services at Worting Road cemetery and it was anticipated that any arrangement with Dignity would include an agreed code of practice and management agreement.  Furthermore the requirement for environmental liabilities would be met by Dignity.  He congratulated the Portfolio Holder and officers for the thorough work that had been undertaken over many years to reach the proposal.

 

Resolved: That Cabinet

 

1)            Approve the option for Dignity to provide a cemetery linked under the one site solution which includes the operation of the current crematorium. In accordance with this option, for the Council to enter into an agreement for a lease with Dignity and then complete a new lease (concurrently with the surrender of the current lease) on the obtaining of planning permission for the provision of a cemetery at the North Waltham site.  

 

2)            Delegate the detailed terms and conditions associated with the agreement for lease, surrender of the current lease and grant of a new lease, and any other supplementary legal, management of other agreements that may be required to facilitate delivery of the proposed new cemetery service under the one site solution, to the Executive Director of Borough Services in consultation with the Executive Director of Finance and Resources and the Head of Law and Governance.

 

3)            Approve the recommendation for officers to develop and implement a pilot travel scheme to test community bus provision against other options as set out in this report.  This approach will allow ongoing evaluation of demand whilst identifying the most suitable and viable solution.

 

Reasons for the decision: 

 

To continue the provision of a cemetery service for borough residents.  The delivery of a new cemetery site by Dignity will cater appropriately for all recognised faiths and groups, follows the standard burial fees set by the council, ensures branding to link the service to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and would not disadvantage local monumental masons and funeral directors. Dignity would meet current and future environmental liabilities as determined by the Environment Agency and take on responsibility for the ongoing maintenance of the new cemetery site also at their cost.  This will also release capital back into the capital programme which can be used to support other key priorities and avoids the requirement to directly develop the new site. 

 

The proposed arrangements with Dignity also represent for the council, an opportunity for the council to generate income whilst minimising future costs and liabilities.                

Supporting documents: