This report is to provide an update to the board on activities in the quarter to September 2018 relating to the management agreement between North East Surrey Crematorium Board and Wandsworth Council. The day to day management responsibilities are carried out on behalf of the Council by Enable Leisure and Culture.
Clive Andrews, the Surveyor introduced the report, which provided an update on activities covering the quarter to September 2018 relating to the management agreement between North East Surrey Crematorium Board and Wandsworth Council and the responsibilities carried out by Enable Leisure and Culture. Members attention was drawn to the following points:
Business level activity. The Surveyor advised the increase in number of cremations for the year, and also the month on month increases recently seen.
Performance Monitoring of Enable Leisure and Culturefor quarter 4 year 3 (Aug 2018) was discussed. The Surveyor a spoke through the exempt report, and responded to Member enquiries on if more of the report could be made public.
Action Plan. The surveyor went through the action plan in appendix C, and outlined in particular the update on the purchase of new land. The Board were advised that once all valuations have been received a report will come forward to a subsequent meeting to provide more details.
The Surveyor spoke through the repair and renewal and capital works, and responded to Member queries, Councillor Galligan asked about the condition of the main driveway. The Surveyor advised that it had been resurfaced 18 months ago and is still in good order and it is believed that no further repairs should be needed for the next 10 years.
Establishing A New Ashes Lawn. The surveyor advised that last year the board agreed a sum of money to raise the level of the ashes lawn forming part of capital works programme, due to exhaustion of available land within the Garden of Remembrance. The Board were advised that it is now believed that the capital budget for this would exceed the allocated budget as it is now estimated that this would cost minimum of £100k against a budget of £75k.
Following the tour of the ashes lawn in June concerns were raised by Members regarding raising the level of the ashes lawn. Therefore the Surveyor has re-examined the proposals to provide an alternative option. The Board were advised that an alternative site has been identified to establish a new ashes lawn. Members were asked to consider two options
Option 1 to continue with the existing arrangement to mound over the original ashes lawn which would provide space for approximately 50 more years interments. The Board were advised that as part of looking at this option an area of the original ashes lawn has been found which is not yet used, which would potentially give another 5 years worth of space for interments.
Option 2 to create a new ashes lawn elsewhere in the garden - the land identified is adjacent to the cloister walkway. It was estimated that this would provide space for 15 years of interments with the additional possibility of extending the size of the lawn by incorporating space currently used for memorial rose beds thus extending the capacity.
In debate Members indicated they would like to meet at the site to look at the areas allocated for these two options whilst viewing the area and the Surveyor offered to arrange that.
A request was also made for the costs of option 2, to be provided. The surveyor advised that he believed the cost of option 2 would be within the existing £75K budget.
It was suggested that more detail on the costs of the two options should be provided. The Surveyor agreed to get more accurate costings for a subsequent meeting. The Chair pointed out that if the options are costed now, and action is not taken within a short period of time detailed plans on costs will have changed.
Councillor Crossby thanked the Surveyor for revisiting the options available.
The advantages and disadvantages for both schemes were provided in the report and these were discussed. Members asked for consideration on if there would be any risk of flooding to be taken into account and asked that a plan for the whole site be provided before a decision is made on the location of the new ashes lawn. Members wished to understand information from a ground water survey. Councillor Walsh was keen that due diligence be completed and asked if there should be consultation with Environment Agency (EA). The Surveyor advised the EA have instigated all cemeteries to carry out ground water surveys which would also include land occupied by NESC.
It was suggested that when a meeting is arranged on site to discuss the options that consultants and experts regarding the land be in attendance to respond to Members queries, and to help with consideration of the long term impact.
Councillor Walsh motioned that a meeting be arranged on site and additional information on costs and long term implications, including suitability of the site, be provided in a report before the decision is taken. It was proposed that this report be considered in the June meeting and also that a pre meeting is arranged on site before this report for decision comes forward. The motion was seconded by Councillor Ryder
RESOLVED: that the North East Surrey Crematorium Board