New crematorium plan next to Leeds golf range to tackle 'conveyor belt' funerals

Garforth Golf Range. Credit: Google.
Garforth Golf Range. Credit: Google.

A new crematorium could be built next to a golfing range in East Leeds to deal with a rising population and bereaved families going through “conveyor belt” funeral experiences.

Westerleigh Group Ltd has applied to create the facility to the east of the practice ground at Garforth Golf Range on Long Lane.

According to the developer the nearest available crematorium, at Lawnswood 10 miles away in Adel, is 135 per cent above its “practical” capacity during peak months.

However, Leeds City Council said that all three of its crematoria are currently running at 65 per cent capacity, which is "sufficient to continue to meet demand both now and for the foreseeable future".

The population of Leeds has grown from around in 1961 510,000 to about now 781,700 and is due to rise to 819,000 by 2024, the company said.

A report submitted with the developer's planning application reads: “The existing crematorium at Lawnswood, the only viable choice for East Leeds, is under pressure.

“Funeral Directors have pointed out significant concerns with the current quality and quantity of provision.

“These shortcomings include delays to funerals of over three weeks in winter months and a ‘conveyor belt’ experience.”

If plans were approved then just under 70,000 people would live within a 30-minute funeral cortege drive to a crematorium for the first time, the report says.

It adds: “This would mean around 550 bereaved families each year would no longer suffer the distress of long cortege journeys.”

Buildings would be demolished to make way for the facility as well as associated access and car parking.

Nobody from the golf range was available for comment today.

A council spokesperson said: “The council crematoria are currently operating at around 65 per cent capacity. There is also a general trend away from burial towards cremation however the current capacity is sufficient to continue to meet demand both now and for the foreseeable future.

“Those in the sad position of needing to arrange a cremation can contact our bereavement services directly to find a time which is suitable to their needs.”

The authority could decide whether to approve the plan by January 9 next year.