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Belfast City Council looks to Scotland for crematorium ideas

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Plans for a new crematorium have moved a step forward following a Belfast City Council study visit to Scotland, it has been claimed.

Plans for a new crematorium have moved a step forward following a Belfast City Council study visit to Scotland, it has been claimed.

Plans for a new crematorium have moved a step forward following a Belfast City Council study visit to Scotland, it has been claimed.

Plans for a new crematorium have moved a step forward following a Belfast City Council study visit to Scotland, it has been claimed.

Councillors visited four different crematoria in and around Glasgow to bolster a case for a facility to support Roselawn after stark criticism from families and funeral directors.

In recent years cremations have risen from 18% to 21% in Northern Ireland, leading to complaints that it can take up to four days to get a slot after a loved one's death.

Alderman Jim Rodgers, who is chair of Strategic Cemeteries and Crematorium Working Development Group, said members were actively looking for a site for another crematorium.

"Burial is still the chosen option in Northern Ireland when someone dies but it is very expensive to purchase a grave and that's why the number of cremations is going up," he said.

"We've been arguing that we need an additional crematorium and we undertook a one-day study visit in June to consider a variety of different options."

Mr Rodgers was among councillors who visited four Scottish crematoria, including Linn in Dalldowie, Clydebank in Dalmuir and Woodside Cemetery and Crematorium in Paisley.

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Families have said the existing church at Roselawn, which seats 100 people and has room for 50 standing, is not large enough in many cases.

Complaints have also been made about services over-running; it's possible to book a 60-minute slot but most people opt for the 30-minute option, which is often not long enough.

The crematorium opening hours, which used to be from 9am to 3pm, are now from 8am until 4pm Monday to Saturday, but again the extension is said to fall far short of demand.

It is understood that staff at Roselawn are feeling increasingly under pressure as bereaved families hit out at not being offered a working slot until four days after their loved one dies.

"This visit - which is the first of its kind - has helped to drive forward our business case," Mr Rodgers said.

"We can't continue to have a situation where people are waiting for so long to be cremated. It's unfair."

Belfast City Council expects the new crematorium to cost between £12m and £14m and to take three years to construct.


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