Falkirk funerals may be held but final journey needed

Falkirk council could lose revenue of hundreds of thousands during any closure of Falkirk Crematorium
Falkirk council could lose revenue of hundreds of thousands during any closure of Falkirk Crematorium

Falkirk’s only crematorium could close for up to three months in a massive renovation project.

The facility at Camelon Cemetery, which conducts around 2000 services a year, is to be extended and fitted with new cremators next year as part of a major improvement plan.

But while the cremators are being replaced, local people may have to go elsewhere to say their final goodbyes.

However, Falkirk Council said it will work with the community and consult with families, funeral directors and churches.

Councillor Craig R. Martin, convener of the policy development panel for bereavement services, said: “This is a big project, but it’s needed.

“The crematorium is a well-loved place that means a lot to people, and we want to make being there a much nicer experience despite it being a difficult time.

“We do realise there will be issues during any closure, but we are aiming to minimise disruption as much as possible and make families and the community aware of what is happening.

“We know families are going through a painful time in their lives.”

Dr Martin said the community would be consulted on what would happen when the cremators are not working.

He said: “We will be asking people how they want to see the crematorium improved but also how they want things to operate during the closure.

“It could be people want a service in Falkirk, even though we wouldn’t be able to carry out a cremation, so we’re going to need to look if we can do that.”

The details of the crematorium’s £3 million upgrade were revealed during an executive meeting on Tuesday.

Councillors heard there was an urgent need to upgrade the 1960’s building and replace the three 20-year-old cremators which were now “at the end of life”.

There are also plans to extend areas within the crematorium, offering families more privacy and removing the “conveyor belt” experience expressed by some bereaved families.

The car park will also be extended and the memorial garden enhanced.

The plan for the crematorium is part of a wider modernisation of the area’s bereavement services.

New rules are to be imposed around where tributes can be left at graves, and the height of headstones has now also been restricted to five feet.

Owners of old or unsafe headstones are to be contacted, where possible, and a new headstone registration scheme will be established.