Council in Essex seeks partner to run crematorium
A council in Essex is seeking a deal with a private company to partner them in refurbishing and running a cemetery and a crematorium built in 1961.
On offer is a share in Parndon Wood Cemetery and Crematorium in Harlow.
The town council's executive committee agreed to move forward with plans to offer a contract to a private company and a 25-year lease is on offer.
The aim is to secure long-term investment while the council retains ownership and receives a rent.
However, an investment of several million pounds is needed to refurbish the ageing chapel, entrance porch and waiting room.
"The successful bidder is to commit to funding improvements to the crematorium's grounds and provide a wider variety of environments for remembrance," the council said.
"They will also overhaul parking and roadways to cater for modern funeral vehicles and improve access."
Modern equipment is also needed to ensure compliance with changing legal requirements.
New equipment must also provide a lower carbon footprint.
Harlow Council leader Andrew Johnson, said: "The service will require substantial capital investment over the next few years which in the current financial climate will be difficult for the council to fund.
"The building and facilities are ageing and if investment isn't made the service will not meet expectations or legislative requirements.
"Just to meet environmental protection standards could cost the council around £1m."
The council will receive rent and a share of the annual income while existing staff will transfer to the new company.