A CREMATORIUM and natural burials could be on the cards for Thurrock reports the Local Democracy Reporter.
The council is drawing up a ten-year burial strategy to ensure a high standard of service for residents.
A public consultation carried out last summer showed “strong support” for a crematorium to be built in the borough.
The consultation was accessed by 500 people and 88 completed a survey after it was extended by a week. The responses will form part of the council’s strategy. Residents also indicated they would like to see more trees in cemeteries and memorial benches along with natural burial grounds.
These return a body to the earth in as natural a way as possible without embalming processes, cremation and caskets or coffins that won’t biodegrade with time. They are usually sited in green spaces, such as wildflower meadows, protected woodland and park land.
While the cash-strapped council tackles a £469million deficit and is prevented from spending any new money on anything other than statutory services after declaring it can no longer balance its books, it is unclear where the money would be found for a crematorium but a report to cabinet, which will meet on Wednesday, said: “The strategy outlines plans for the future development of burial facilities in the borough.
“All proposed developments will be subject to the approval of full business cases prior to progressing.”
The report adds: “A strategy provides a clear direction of travel and guidelines for current management, helps to ensure that burial grounds are maintained and developed well. It also ensures consistency and provides an opportunity for strategic aims to be explored. The aim is to provide cemeteries for Thurrock residents that are beautiful, peaceful and well used.
“To offer burial spaces that support a diverse range of cultural and individual needs. To ensure that our polices relating to burials and memorials are clear, well communicated, and consistent and to ensure that procedures for the purchase and use of burial sites and memorials are clear, efficient, and compassionate.”