A RETIRED businessman has launched a petition urging BCP Council to install a working cremator at Poole Crematorium.

The local authority is spending £559,000 refurbishing the facility at Gravel Hill, but the phase one refurbishments do not include a cremator.

Bodies are currently transported across to Bournemouth Crematorium after the funeral service.

Tony Reeves, who lives in Broadstone, said he believes families want their loved ones cremated at the same place where the committal occurs.

He said: “The crematorium’s cremators were decommissioned two years ago and despite the council having budgeted a vast amount of money for upgrading, the costs will not include a new cremator.

“It is an upsetting situation for many families to see their loved ones being driven to Bournemouth, as they believe that the final journey should end at the crematorium where the service is held.

“Bournemouth Crematorium is already the second busiest in the country and it seems incredulous that the council does not seem to be looking to the future.

“Furthermore, Poole Crematorium covers a wide area, across the Purbecks and as far west as Blandford and Dorchester.

“It is absurd that a town the size of Poole would not have its own crematorium, but instead would just have a large service chapel.

“The money the council intends to spend on decorating and upgrading would be far better spent on installing cremators.

“The petition I have put my name to is urging the council to commit to installing cremators and I also urge everyone to put their signature to this petition.”

Bournemouth Echo: Poole CrematoriumPoole Crematorium

As reported, the phase one of work at Poole Crematorium is due to start this month and will see the Gravel Hill site closed to services for 22 weeks.

The council has not yet made a decision on whether an investment in a new cremator will be included in phase two of the project. This is likely to be discussed by councillors later this year.

Nick Douch, managing director of Douch Family Funeral Directors that has seven funeral branches in Dorset, said: “It really makes no sense to have a crematorium with no cremator.

“The families we look after often become upset when we tell them that. Everyone we speak to cannot understand why the cremators have not been replaced.

“And as there seems to be plenty of money available for refurbishment it is peculiar that it is not being spent on a cremator.”

Anthony O’Hara, of Nicholas O’Hara Funeral Directors, which has three branches in east Dorset, said: “All our branches are outside the BCP area, but most of the families we look after consider Poole as their crematorium.

“People like to think that the place where they have the cremation service is the final resting place of their loved ones.

“It is disappointing and frustrating that there are no plans to install a new cremator.”

The petition, which has been signed by more than 1,500 people, can be found online at savepoolecrem.org.