SOUTH Lakeland District Council looks set to float the possibility of Kendal getting its own crematorium.
Council leader Peter Thornton says families cremating loves ones can sometimes face an ‘undignified dash’ to Lancaster or Barrow for fear of missing their crematorium slot.
Local funeral directors also support a Kendal crematorium because it can take corteges up to two hours in the tourism season to reach the facilities.
Coun Thornton told the Gazette that the distance in travelling created an ‘artificial break’ in funeral proceedings.
No site has been identified in the town and nor has it been established whether it would be private or council-run.
Coun Thornton said: “I know this is a sensitive and emotive issue and I want to start the discussion.
“The council doesn’t have an agenda and if people say they are happy with the current arrangements we’ll forget it. If they say it’s something we want, we will look into it.”
The idea would need to win backing at a council meeting in February. And if it passes the test there, it would mean officers investigating further.
“My own experience is that a funeral is an emotional rite of passage and an occasion where logistics are important.
“I’ve seen funeral directors, for the best possible reasons, having to tell mourners outside the church that it’s time to go.”
The Rev Rob Saner-Haigh, of Kendal Parish Church, said if the community wanted a crematorium, he would support it.
“My initial reaction is to say that we have more pressing issues, such as housing and hospital services. However, the present situation can extend a difficult day for people.”
Kendal funeral directors Hayes and Parkinson agreed a crematorium was needed but a spokesman said: “It’s a matter of where they would put it because nobody would want it next to them.”
Alan Williamson, of Co-Operative Funeral Care, which runs businesses in Kendal and Ulverston, said: “Having a local crematorium would be of great benefit to families.”
Paul Caine, of Little and Caine, which has offices in Ulverston, Grange, Dalton and Barrow, said: “The distance is definitely an issue.”
Stuart Cox, of Dignity UK, which runs the crematorium at Lancaster, said that if the council progressed the idea, it was likely Dignity would put in a tender.
It is not the first time the idea of a crematorium for the area has been mooted – a plan raised for land at Sampool, Levens, was turned down by SLDC’s planners in 2006.
A crematorium was also proposed 14 years ago at Gatebeck, Endmoor, but rejected by planners.