Report by the Crematorium Manager (attached)
The Joint Committee considered a report by the Crematorium Manager (previously circulated).
i) Covid Crisis Update
It was noted:
That the number of mourners permitted remained at 30, unchanged by the lockdown. Post-funeral events were now limited to 6 people (from 15).
The crematorium although extremely busy has continued to operate without the need for any measures to provide additional service times. Since the end of November there had been 29 deaths that had listed Covid as the primary cause of death.
ii) Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) Funerals Market Investigation.
It was noted that the CMA had produced their final report regarding both funeral directors and crematoria. The report stated that local authority crematoria fees were higher than should be expected (£80-£170) due to an average 6% increase over the last 10 years. Privately run crematoria fees were higher still.
The annual review of surrounding crematoria’s pricing demonstrated that, despite significant upgrading of facilities, North Devon’s fees were about £285 lower than nearby privately run crematoria and over £100 lower than the nearest local authority Crematorium (no organist).
The report encouraged Local Authorities to enter into a tendering process with local funeral providers to offer a fixed (reduced) cost funeral service.
The Crematorium Manager stated that he would investigate the tendering process and whether it could be undertaken on a Crematorium basis only on behalf of both authorities or whether each authority would have to undertake its own tendering process.
That the Car park had been re-covered in new stone and the bulk materials area cleared.
iv) Metals Recycling Charity Award
That Clarity had been awarded £10,000 (paid direct December 2020). The ‘formal cheque presentation’ had not yet taken place.
The Calvert Trust (Exmoor) had been proposed for the next award (due June 2021).
Subsequent nomination list:
Over and Above (Cancer & Wellbeing Centre)
Families in Grief
North Devon Children’s Holiday Foundation
North Devon Hospice
Children’s Hospice SW
Over and Above (North Devon Hospital – Maternity Unit Bereavement Suite)
No further additions to be considered prior to February 2022.
v) Crematorium Figures
The Cremation figures were noted.
vi) Garden Improvements 2020/21
It was noted:
That the Path work’s, half the hedge had been removed and fencing had been completed.
That the following had been ordered: ground preparation & metal supports for the ‘sail’ weather protection outside Rowan Chapel.
That the following had not yet been ordered: Remainder hedge works, sails, new hedges. It is anticipated these will be ordered shortly.
That the Lead Gardener has had some serious personal issues, which had put pressure on the gardening team and therefore a limited programme of
improvements (linking resin paths, bulk material area fence and hedge replacement work’s) was proposed for 2021/22.
It was agreed that a card be sent to the Lead Gardener on behalf of the joint committee expressing the Committee’s thoughts at this very difficult time.
vii) Larkbear Development – Traffic Management
It was noted that the Traffic order was being drafted to move the bus gate to Old Torrington Road and enable it to be signed for camera-enforcement rather than relying on physical restrictions. There did not seem to be any intention to exempt any funeral related traffic or restrict times of operation. If implemented in that form all crematorium traffic will have to use Gratton Way and the mini roundabout at Sainsbury together with the additional residential and construction traffic. The consequences of this were of significant concern. Once published there would be a consultation process which it is intended to participate in.