Haringey’s cemeteries to be leased

Council says it can’t afford �6million upkeep bill at the three sites

TWO cemeteries and a crematorium owned by the council are to be leased to private contractors as Haringey cannot afford the �6.6million investment needed at the sites.

Members of Haringey Council’s cabinet made the decision to lease – rather than sell – Enfield Crematorium and their cemeteries in Tottenham and Wood Green at a meeting on Tuesday night. It is expected they will now be transferred by January 2012.

Cabinet member for adult and community services, Cllr Dilek Dogus, said government cuts meant they could not afford the investment needed to bring the sites up to legal emission standards or create new spaces.

The council can build in controls to any future contract about opening hours and access to the site for bereaved families.

But, speaking to the cabinet, Anne Gray – on behalf of Sustainable Haringey – argued that other options should be looked at first, such as financing the schemes by selling advance plots to residents and other eco-friendly options.

She said: “We really think this requires a re-think and we believe there’s a grave risk in disposing of an income-generating asset that could make the council money for another generation or so.”

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But councillors disagreed, saying profits had been slowly decreasing and agreed the plans for the sites to be leased out.

Cllr Dogus said: “We understand the concerns of the bereaved and their families, but with the government cuts that are being imposed, we think that private sector funding is the most sensible option for us.

‘‘We expect that this decision will mean that families and mourners will be offered just as good a service.”