A FUNERAL director has called on the council to put a new cremator in at Poole Crematorium or stop calling it a crematorium.

Steven Tapper said there was a "reasonable perception" for people to assume the act of the cremation takes place at the site in Gravel Hill.

However, as reported, the BCP Council run facility has not had any working cremators since April 2020.

While the site has held services in this time, bodies have been transported to Bournemouth Crematorium for the cremation.

Mr Tapper, director of Tapper Funeral Service, which runs its own crematorium outside Upton, said: "You can't expect in a place the size of Poole for everybody to grasp the situation just because its perhaps been on the news once.

"If you call a place Poole Crematorium, there is a reasonable perception for people passing to assume that they cremate there."

Mr Tapper, who attends liaison committee meetings with the council and other funeral directors, said there had been "considerable disquiet" over the fact Gravel Hill no longer cremates.

Bournemouth Echo: Steven TapperSteven Tapper

"A month ago I thought time had gone on enough so I sent an email to one of the senior managers saying that it was really time to put the new cremator in or to stop calling it a crematorium because it is a trade description matter," said Mr Tapper.

He said the response was that because the building still holds cremating equipment, although not functional, it technically answers the legal definition of what a crematorium is.

"That is an arguable point but ethically it is a very poor point. There has to at least be a spirit that equipment installed works or has some hope of working and these can't be repaired – they have gone end of life," said Mr Tapper.

"The Cremation Act which gives the legal definition of what a crematorium is also requires a crematorium, by the act, to maintain and keep in good working order all that makes it a crematorium, so they fail on that."

He added: "There is considerable dissatisfaction from all funeral directors I know of. This situation at Gravel Hill is without precedent in this country. There is something like 300 crematorium around the country and only one has ever closed. That was Arnos Vale in Bristol and that was for very different reasons.

"The Gravel Hill crematorium in its prime has been one of the busiest in the country so to not reinvest what is arguably the most important piece of equipment on the property is a very strange strategy indeed."

Bournemouth Echo: Poole Crematorium will be closed from later this month for 22 weeksPoole Crematorium will be closed from later this month for 22 weeks

A BCP Council spokesperson said: “As previously announced, we are currently underway on a phased programme of improvements to Poole Crematorium - which means that currently our crematorium services are being operated from other venues in the BCP area.

"It is entirely incorrect to suggest that we have no plans for these services to return in the future. Further enhancements for Poole Crematorium will be considered as part of phase two, which unfortunately had to be delayed due to Covid.”

As reported, the council has not yet decided whether phase two of the work will include purchasing a new cremator.

Phase one work begins this month and will see Poole Crematorium closed to funeral services for 22 weeks.