Funds approved for new crematorium in Chingford

Waltham Forest Council has approved funding to build a “flagship” new crematorium in Chingford.

A new “contemporary, purpose-built” crematorium in Chingford Mount Cemetery would replace the current temporary mortuary compound set up during the pandemic.

The council is developing designs for a 450sqm building including a waiting area, family viewing area, chapel, crematorium space and office area.

A report approving an £8.4m budget was approved last week, stating that the council hopes to make a large “return on investment” through a profit of £21million over 25 years.

The report says a new service would need to carry out about 1,200 cremations per year at a fee of about £900 each.

It adds that benefits of a new crematorium include easing “funeral day logistics”, accommodating residents of diverse beliefs, reducing traffic and creating additional revenue, the report says.

Although the council began looking at the feasibility of a new crematorium in 2020, local Conservative councillor Catherine Suamarez told the Local Democracy Reporting Service she was not aware of any plans until last month.

Speaking to residents on social media, she said her concerns about a building being “huge, inappropriate and overbearing” have been “allayed”.

She added that the new building would be a similar size to the current installation and will be electric, so there will be “no smoking chimneys.

Furthermore, the facility would provide more local cremation services so residents wouldn’t have to travel to Enfield or the City of London-run crematorium in Wanstead.

A number of residents told Cllr Suamarez they were concerned about additional congestion in the area, which is not well-served by public transport.

Neither of the two design options being considered have been published by the council and a planning application has not yet been submitted.

However, the report says designs include fridge storage and two modern electric cremators, which would “significantly reduce” emissions compared to those that use gas.

Waltham Forest’s main public mortuary at Queen’s Road Cemetery, next to Walthamstow Coroner’s Court, is currently being rebuilt.

The temporary mortuary in Chingford Mount Cemetery is set in steel containers and is surrounded by wooden fencing.

Although the temporary set-up was installed during the pandemic, the council did not grant itself planning permission until March this year.

The temporary containers and fencing must be removed by November this year, according to a decision issued by the council.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter