Work on a major £2.75 million refurbishment of Oakworth Crematorium and its chapel is due to start next month.

The scheme is part of an overall £24 million Bradford Council bereavement services improvement package, which also includes the construction of two new crematoria in the district and an extension to the Muslim burial ground at Scholemoor Cemetery.

Included in the Oakworth project is the installation of a new energy-efficient cremator – featuring latest emission-reducing technology – and a modernisation of the chapel.

The crematorium will close next Friday, July 17, for the existing machinery to be decommissioned.

Work proper on the scheme is scheduled to begin on August 3 and is expected to take about a year to complete.

Staff will be relocated to other crematoria in the district and it is hoped to temporarily house the book of remembrance in Keighley Library.

Cremation services will continue to be held at Nab Wood and Scholemoor during the closure of Oakworth, while plans to replace those crematoria with new ones at Heaton and Bierley are ongoing.

The contract for the work has been awarded to Bermar Building Co Ltd, based at Allerton.

Designs were drawn-up by a team led by Rex Procter and Partners, supported by Stride Treglown Architects, Furness Partnership and Novo Integration Engineers.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, the council’s executive member for healthy people and places, said she was delighted to see the Oakworth scheme getting under way and welcomed the awarding of the contract to a company from the district.

“It’s great news that this contract has been awarded to a Bradford-based company which is a specialist in completing public contracts,” she added.

“It is a core council strategy to invest in local companies where we can.

“This is a major project for the district which will provide residents with modern, efficient and environmentally-friendly bereavement services, as well as investing in local jobs and boosting the economy in these difficult times.

“While our bereavement strategy has been the subject of planning and discussion for a long time, it will be great to see the actual onsite work taking place – along with the already under way expansion work at Scholemoor Cemetery.

“I am sure the residents of Oakworth and the rest of the district will have a facility to be proud of for many years to come as a result of this investment.”

Plans for the new-look Oakworth Crematorium were first unveiled last summer. Members of the council’s executive welcomed the initiative and were shown artists’ images.