A NEW, multi-million-pound crematorium will host its first services on Monday – with the final ceremonies at another long-standing facility to end this week.

Shay Grange in Heaton is replacing Nab Wood Crematorium as Bradford Council’s main crematorium in the North of the District.

Based off Long Lane, the crematorium has cost almost £9 million, and is part of a wider programme to upgrade the District’s ageing crematoria.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The new crematorium in HeatonThe new crematorium in Heaton (Image: newsquest)

The changes were partly needed due to new equipment required for cremation ovens – equipment that was too big to fit in the existing buildings at Nab Wood, a converted chapel, and Scholemoor Cemetery.

When it opens it will be one of the most modern crematoria in Yorkshire.

The Telegraph & Argus was given a tour of the new facility ahead of its official opening on Monday.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bereavement service staff and Council representatives in the new CrematoriumBereavement service staff and Council representatives in the new Crematorium (Image: newsquest)

The Council had said it was important that the new crematorium was as impressive as possible, as it would be the place many Bradford families bid their final farewell to their loved ones.

The facility has been built on a green belt site – the Council argued this was necessary as rules dictate crematoria cannot be built close to homes or main roads.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Garden space in the crematoriumGarden space in the crematorium (Image: newsquest)

The modern facility is surrounded by landscaped gardens and a 123 space car park, with spaces for coaches as well as electric car charging points.

There are expansive waiting rooms, as well as private spaces where families can meet with funeral directors.

Ceremonies are held in a large hall that can be subdivided for to cater for both larger ceremonies and smaller, more intimate ceremonies, with the caterfalque in the centre.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The room the services will be held inThe room the services will be held in (Image: newsquest)

The larger chamber can seat 150 people, with standing space for another 150 people.

The building is the first crematorium in the UK to feature screens that can divide the room, or hide the coffin if families do not want to see it during the service.

Antonio Smith, bereavement services manager, said: “It allows us to do a service in many different ways – there will be no set format for a service.”

One of the more unusual features is a side room where families can watch the coffin being taken into the oven. A button in this side room even allows mourners to start the cremation process themselves.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The room that will allow families to view the coffin entering the crematorThe room that will allow families to view the coffin entering the cremator (Image: newsquest)

Mr Smith said a request for such a facility had been made in the past by people from the Sikh or Hindu faith, and he was not aware of any other local crematoria that had this feature.

The crematoria is also the most environmentally friendly in West Yorkshire. The new rules on emissions from crematoria mean operators now need to remove mercury from any emissions. The most common cause of Mercury in the atmosphere comes from fillings in people being cremated.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The new crematorium in HeatonThe new crematorium in Heaton (Image: newsquest)

The mercury abatement equipment in the new crematorium is a huge piece of technology – part of the reason the current Nab Wood crematorium had to be closed, as it could not fit the technology.

The crematorium will also be the new home for the Council’s bereavement services. For the first time all the District’s burial records have been collected into one location. Some of these records date back as far as 1857.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Burial records in the new crematoriumThe Burial records in the new crematorium (Image: newsquest)

The landscaped area around the crematorium acts as a garden of remembrance, and Phil Barker, assistant director for Culture, Sport and Leisure, said: “it has turned out to be a beautiful location.”

The crematorium building at Nab Wood will close until a future use can be identified, but the cemetery will be remaining open for burials and for those who wish to visit the garden of remembrance and other areas within the grounds. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The crematorium in HeatonThe crematorium in Heaton (Image: newsquest)

The room housing the book of remembrance for Nab Wood will also remain open. 

Other improvements to bereavement services include the refurbishment of Oakworth Crematorium which opened last year, the Muslim burial ground at Scholemoor Cemetery has also been extended and new developments are planned including a new crematorium to be built at Bierley and an extension to the burial provision at Bowling Cemetery. 

Around 3,000 cremations each year are currently carried out at three crematoria managed by Bradford Council.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The water feature at the crematoriumThe water feature at the crematorium (Image: newsquest)

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “It is great to see Shay Grange Crematorium finished and ready to open.  This work is the latest step in our strategy to create a modern, sustainable and environment-friendly bereavement service for the people of the district.  

“It is a significant investment in future bereavement services operated by the local authority.  

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Space for flowers at the new crematoriumSpace for flowers at the new crematorium (Image: newsquest)

“We need to progress these works due to the age of the existing facilities which are working well beyond their recommended life span and which do not conform to modern environmental standards.  

 “We want to provide practical, sympathetic, convenient and pleasant surroundings for people when they pay their last respects to their loved ones."

She said it was important the facility be welcoming to people of all faiths, and people of no faith.