The facility, developed and operated by Westerleigh, hopes to ease congestion at Southampton crematorium, the 25th busiest crematorium in the UK. It is expected to look after just four or five funerals a days, offering a personalised, less hurried service.
Set against existing woodland and well screened from the main road, the crematorium offers the privacy that families like at a funeral. Because it is in a rural setting, the facility has been designed to be in keeping with the character of the area and to blend into the countryside.
Richard Evans, managing director of Westerleigh, the company operating the new facility, was pleased to see the new service finally complete:
“It seems a long time since we first won permission at the end of 2015 and we are grateful for the confidence placed in our company by Test Valley Councillors. We are delighted to finally be ready to repay their faith and look after the bereaved in this area.”
He added: “We are very proud of how the crematorium looks. It is finished in the local farmhouse brick, in sympathy with its countryside setting. I am sure that it will provide a more tranquil and convenient place for local families to hold a funeral.”
The 96 seater chapel has been fitted with large bay windows overlooking a water garden and the surrounding countryside beyond. A state of the art digital music system has been fitted alongside a traditional organ.
The chapel is able to cater for all religions and beliefs.
The crematorium will serve all communities across Hampshire and the manager of the new service, Rob Metcalfe, is delighted to finally be able to open its doors.
“It is a secluded, natural spot, ideally suited for holding funerals and allowing families to grieve in peaceful surroundings. We will allow an hour for every funeral, ensuring that each one can hold a unique, dignified event.”