A serious technical fault at York Crematorium has significantly reduced its capacity.
And these problems are likely to last for at least another six weeks, City of York Council has warned.
Problems in the cremator at the Bishopthorpe Road building are to blame. Repairs are underway, but cremations will reduce to five a day throughout December and January – less than half the normal daily average of 10-12.
An on-site temporary cremator is providing limited cover when the permanent cremator is unavailable.
York funeral services will continue as normal. Funeral directors will use facilities in neighbouring areas to provide cremation services if York Crematorium is unable to meet demand.
Waiting times may increase
A decision about whether to increase the number of cremations will be made once City of York Council officers are confident the issues have been permanently resolved.
Assistant director for customer and digital services Pauline Stuchfield said:
We are grateful for funeral directors’ and cremation teams’ dedication and hard work during this sensitive time.
The loss of a loved one is hard enough and plans are in place to make these arrangements as easy as possible.
Because the repairs are complex and “involve altering the fabric of the building”, it is not yet known when the work will be completed.
Ms Stuchfield added:
“Although waiting times may increase, so far we are finding demand is largely being met by the alternative arrangements in place.”
Support for bereaved families
Funeral directors are supporting bereaved families to understand their options and help them through this difficult time.
“The staff at York Crematorium have been doing a great job under very difficult circumstances,” said Chris Fielder, funeral director at J G Fielder & Son.
“Arrangements have been swiftly and efficiently made over the past six weeks to ensure cremations could take place.”
He said families were being notified of any impact prior to services taking place, adding:
The service limitations have impacted the normal timescales for funerals to take place, which is likely to continue until permanent repairs are complete, and so different options are being discussed with families.