THE overall cost of a scheme to modernise Bradford's crematoria will cost almost £7 MILLION more than originally budgeted.

Announced in November 2016, Bradford Council's Bereavement Strategy would see a major refurbishment of Oakworth Crematorium and two new crematoria created to replace existing, ageing facilities.

A new crematorium at Long Lane in Heaton would replace the existing facility at Nab Wood, and a new facility at Shetcliffe Lane, Bierley, would replace the Scholemoor Crematorium.

Originally all three projects were projected to cost £23m. But at a meeting of Bradford Council's Executive on Tuesday, members will hear that that price tag has not rocketed to £29.7m.

"Volatility in the construction market" has been blamed for the rising costs.

The Council said the work was necessary as all three of its existing crematoria were operating past their use by date.

As well as not meeting newer, tougher emission targets, the ovens were too small to accommodate larger coffins often required due to rising obesity levels.

Bulky new cremation ovens were too big for the existing buildings.

Work on Oakworth Crematorium is expected to be completed in a matter of weeks, and work on the Heaton Crematorium is set to start shortly.

Last year the Executive heard that rising construction costs meant that the Heaton Crematorium would cost £2m more than original estimates, and the whole bereavement strategy budget would likely have to be re-drawn due to this rise, and the predicted cost rise for the Bierley Crematorium.

One of Bradford's crematoria could be used for 'water cremations' - meeting told

A report to Tuesday's Executive says that this is indeed the case. and the Bierley project will cost £4.3m more than originally budgeted.

It says: "Over the past two years a number of issues have conflated to increase demand and subsequently prices in the construction industry.

"Issues such as Brexit, Covid, haulage driver shortages and supply chain issues have been key influencers in this regard.

"According to the latest data provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the price of imported sawn or planed wood jumped by more than a fifth between June and July 2021.

"The material is now more than 64 per cent more expensive than it was in July 2020. BEIS data also demonstrated that the price of fabricated structural steel increased by 13.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2021. The price of structural steel is now 31.8 per cent higher than it was in April 2020."

The report says the cost of the Heaton Crematorium has risen from £9.1m to £11.9m, and the cost of the Bierley facility has leaped from £10.5m to £14.8m.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “This is a major project for the district which will provide residents with modern, efficient and environmentally-friendly bereavement services.

"We want to provide practical, sympathetic, convenient and pleasant surroundings for people when they pay their last respects to their loved ones. It is great to see that we are almost at the completion of Oakworth and that work is set to start soon on Heaton Crematorium.

“Like many other significant building projects around the country there are well-documented pressures in the construction industry around staff and materials.

"This will impact on our projects just as it does nationally. This is something that we are fully aware of and are continuing to monitor and respond to closely.”