NEW plans for a fully refurbished crematorium have been revealed for the first time.

Oakworth Crematorium is due to undergo a £2.75 million refurbishment as part of a major shake up of the district’s bereavement services.

And at a meeting of Bradford Council’s executive, a striking artist’s impression of the revamped site was revealed.

Originally the council planned to spend £2 million on the refurbishment – keeping the existing building but installing new, more environmentally-friendly cremators.

But the plans had to be drastically altered when the council realised the building was too small for the new cremators.

A report to the executive said this meant the plans had changed, and that the crematorium would be demolished and rebuilt instead. However, this would put the scheme £750,000 above the original budget.

Members of the executive were told the new design would offer a “significant improvement” to the visitor experience, and that the new plans also include a separate entrance and exit, a glazed “winter garden” area, improved landscaping and traffic flows as well as a redesigned parking area.

At the meeting, Worth Valley councillor Russell Brown praised the scheme. He said: “I’m an Oakworth lad and I’ve been going to services there for 50 years.

“It has always been a bit of a compromise – the layout of the building is quite strange, it has never really been satisfactory.

“The building has never been fit for purpose.

“This is an excellent plan. It will make it more efficient, and environmentally efficient. It takes all the little bits and pieces and makes the facility fit for purpose.

“This will be a far better experience for the families and friends going to services for their loved ones.

“The scheme will bring the crematorium to a national standard.”

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, executive member for healthy people and places, said: “It is very important that the last journey of our loved ones is both fitting and respectful.

“This design shows that respect and provides a fit-for-purpose and future-proof facility for the people of Keighley and the wider district.”

The new building will also have space to house a second cremator if demand increases.

Members were also given a brief update on plans to build two new crematoria in the district.

The council proposed the changes because its existing crematoria are all working between four and five years beyond their recommended life span, and are in need of urgent investment.

Two existing facilities, at Nab Wood and Scholemoor, cannot be upgraded, and so the council is looking to build two new crematoria, one in the north of the district and one in the south.

There is currently a shortlist of four sites that could be used to build the new facilities – three privately-owned sites the council has yet to reveal and Littlemoor Park in Queensbury.

At the executive meeting, members were told that the preferred sites were two privately-owned ones – and the council was currently in talks with owners about the possible sale. More details would be announced when the talks concluded.