The idea to build a crematorium in Wellingborough was first conceived in 2011
Councillors wanted to provide a much-needed service for local people, but at the same time provide an opportunity for the council to become financially sustainable in the face of ongoing budget cuts.
As a third party had already obtained planning permission for a crematorium on the site at Doddington Road, the council purchased it from them, and then started to work on the concept of what the crematorium should look like as well as what services it could offer. The vision was one of a modern building that fitted into the calm and peaceful environment.
There were some constraints associated with the building because the land was criss-crossed with various service cables and pipes, as well as the potential for archaeological remains. There are also strict rules about how close a crematorium can be to nearby houses. The whole facility had, therefore, to be tucked into a fairly small area of a much larger site, but this has given an opportunity to provide a peaceful setting overlooking the Nene valley, with potential for landscaping and memorial grounds which families will wish to visit again and again.
Whilst the council initially funded and built the crematorium, it worked with the local community – including faith groups and funeral directors – to understand what the facility should offer. That feedback shaped both the look and layout of the building. When the crematorium was largely complete at the beginning of June 2016 it was handed over to a council wholly-owned company – Wellingborough Bereavement Services Ltd – and named Nene Valley Crematorium. Whilst the council determines the strategy associated with the crematorium, the company itself is responsible for its smooth running.
The crematorium was built with an eye to the future: there is already the infrastructure in place to accommodate a second chapel/ceremony room if demand warrants it, and there are other opportunities to develop the service once the initial services are working well. The council will come back and review this in future, considering whether to invest further to improve what is already a valuable new asset for local people.