East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Lib Dems blast ERYC crematorium business plan

Artist’s impression of ‘Lelley Fields’ – c/o ERYC.

THE CREMATORIUM earmarked by East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) for Lelley Road, Preston continues to generate controversy. The Liberal Democrat group on the council say that its members will be challenging the business case for the crematorium as “full of holes” at the full ERYC council meeting tomorrow (24 Feb 2021).

The crematorium and bereavement services project secured an agreement from the council’s Cabinet on 2 February to be formally added to the council’s capital programme with an allocated budget of £8.5m. This is subject to planning permission being approved by the Planning Committee on 25 February. The crematorium is to be named ‘Lelley Fields’.

Councillor David Nolan, the leader of the nine-member Liberal Democrat Group on ERYC has called for a full and proper business case analysis to be presented before the council signs off on the project. He said “The matter will come before East Riding’s Full Council meeting this Wednesday when Opposition Lib Dem Councillors will be challenging the business case as ‘full of holes’. “

Cllr. David Nolan, Leader Lib Dems on ERYC.

“The Cabinet met on 2 February and signed off the business case,  without the press or public knowing what it said as it took place behind closed doors” claimed Councillor Nolan. “The Council has made the business case exempt from public scrutiny, so we are put in a difficult position. We can’t tell you what is in the business case as it is a secret. We think the pay-back period is based on dubious costings and assumptions and is longer than expected, but we can’t tell you what it is.

What I can tell you, is what is missing. Our Group have three major issues of concern:

  1. Nobody in the Council Cabinet or Senior Officers has any experience of building and running a crematorium. It is telling, that the Councillors are not giving the Officers delegated powers and want to see the Contracts before they are signed. That shows a lack of confidence and experience.
  2. There is no SWOT analysis showing the Strengths and Weaknesses and Threats to the Crematorium venture. The report paints a rosy picture of what a marvellous opportunity this is, but fails to do the proper diligence.
  3. There is no Competitive analysis. We know that Hull City Council who run the nearest crematorium at Chanterlands Avenue, are very alarmed and are questioning whether the market can sustain both crematoria. Furthermore, the two existing crematoria in East Riding at Haltemprice and Octon are owned by Dignity and they also own several of the major funeral undertakers in our area. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that they will respond competitively on price. That will blow a hole through the financial assumptions.”

“Ideally the Council should be deciding on this matter as a whole and in Public. But the Cabinet have already taken the decision behind closed doors to sign off on it. Most of the Councillors, including many of the Conservatives, have no say on a major capital project paid for by our Council tax-payers.”

Councillor Denis Healy, the Liberal Democrats Deputy Leader, commented on the locally contentious traffic issues: “The concerns being raised about the traffic in Preston and Hedon caused by slow-moving corteges are being brushed under the carpet. The site is in Preston Parish but the Council are going to rename it Lelley Fields. Calling it Lelley is an attempt to pretend the traffic won’t affect Preston. The Council are calling it a ‘Bereavement Services project’ to make it sound warm and friendly but it is a Crematorium.”

Councillor Nolan confirmed his group’s position: “We are not opposed to a Crematorium in South Holderness, we just think the business case is full of holes.”

The full ERYC council meeting takes place tomorrow Wednesday 24 February at 2 pm. The Planning Committee meeting takes place the next day on Thursday 25 February. Both are remote meetings conducted via video conferencing technology and will be streamed live on the East Riding Council Committee Meetings channel on YouTube.

Find out more about the crematorium planning application at the East Riding Public Access website and search for reference: 20/03564/STPLF.


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7 replies »

  1. What utter tosh Cllr Nolan.
    Looks like my hand-wringing’ has resulted in a full scale traffic review. Whereas you with all your local knowledge (not) didn’t feel the need to speak on it !
    You ‘come clean’ David. There’s a by-election coming up and you have a candidate for the seat. Otherwise you would not show any interest. Typical Lib-Dem !

  2. There is broad agreement here from local Labour and Conservative representatives that the Crematorium would be a welcome facility for the area. But as it stands the plan has absolutely no provisions to address the traffic problems in Preston and Hedon, or more specifically the entry, just near the dog-leg junction on Lelley Road. If East Riding Council, who are proposing the development, cannot address the problems it will exacerbate of traffic then the Planning Committee should refuse permission until it is addressed.

    Lelley Road has a 60mph limit, so to have the entrance directly off there will increase the danger of accidents as funeral corteges will be travelling at a much more sedate and dignified speed.
    How long before there would be a pile up involving a grieving family ? The prospect is appalling.
    The obvious solution would be a roundabout to accommodate the dog-leg and entrance to the Crematorium which would slow all traffic.

    But we also need a review of the potential for the bypass of Hedon and Preston to the east. This could come up from Thorn Road to the Lelley Road and remove all the North-South traffic from our narrow medieval high streets.

    • Bit slow off the mark here from Labour, given the crematorium was passed today. It probably explains why there are no Labour Councillors on the East Riding Council. Everyone knows the Opposition are the Liberal Democrats.

      • Just shows you dont know what goes on in Holderness. I’ve been raising this since it was first proposed. And I got Hedon Town Council to back the Hedon-Preston bypass years ago and we took it to ERYC to discuss costings long before the Crematorium was even suggested.
        And the LibDems polled 4% in the last elections here – almost irrelevant !

  3. It depends on which way you look at it.
    Rather than scoring cheap ‘political’ points (by the way, if you didn’t know, there’s a by-election coming up) and looking to criticise the business plan, I prefer to see it as offering the residents of Preston some advantages, some hope of much needed improvements to the chaotic traffic congestion and parking in the central area.
    I will also, in my presentation to the Planning Committee, push for improvements to the nearby ‘staggered’ junction. It’s unsafe and that won’t improve when the Crem comes along.
    Even pressing the case for the NW Preston bypass is on the agenda. You never know!
    Cllr John Dennis

    • Cllr Dennis come clean and cut out the crocodile tears and hand-wringing. Your Conservative pals based in Beverley have again pushed through a development with no thought to the traffic implications. In this case, its slow-moving funeral corteges winding through Hedon and Preston traffic-lights.
      ERYC Highways have confirmed to me that there is NO BYPASS plans for Preston, even on paper. This is after 20 years of promises by Tory Cllrs, including yourself.
      Your Tory pals from miles away pushed through the “Energy Park”, despite local opposition. If Hedon and Paull residents are not alert they will also end up with a Hedon Haven Industrial Park fed from a poor spur road off Sainsburys roundabout and chaos on Hedon Road. At Full Council yesterday the Lib Dems and I called for a rethink on the plans instead of a white-wash public consultation. We want a dual carriageway off Hedon Road, which was originally planned. Where is your voice calling for the same? If this was Beverley, it would be sent back to the planners to think again, whereas Hedon is expected to put up with sub-standard road solutions.

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