Work to start on purpose-built North East crematorium / by AMRIT NARU

Work on a brand new multi million pound crematorium for the North East is to get underway. The state-of-the-art facility, plus associated landscaped memorial gardens, has been designed by Naru and Ross Architects on behalf of Dignity Plc, one of the largest providers of funeral services in the UK.

Crematorium Castle Eden - 3D Image.JPG

With planning permission granted by Durham County Council, the new purpose-built facility will be situated on arable land close to a former brewery at Castle Eden in East Durham, just off the A19 dual carriageway.

Described as meeting the needs of mourners, but being sensitive to the locality, the £2.5m project will provide a low-level, green-roofed sandstone crematorium building with a link to a separate new-build chapel.  Both buildings will be concealed by grass mounding and discreet landscaping, with only a dressed stone flue rising above the low profile of the single-storey buildings.

Crematorium Castle Eden 2 - 3D Image.JPG

In addition to a new access road and car parking facilities, the three hectare site has been designed to lift the senses with peaceful far-reaching parkland views; beautifully landscaped gardens of remembrance; an ornamental pond and flexible contemplative serene spaces for private reflection.  

Our architectural brief was to provide sensitive facilities which support mourners through one of the most difficult times in their lives, as well as understanding that there are many stages of grief that follow the more formal service. These can include the desire for a tranquil place to visit and remember those who have passed away.
— Carl Ross, Director, Naru and Ross Architects
The crematorium is a much-needed facility and will provide a superior client service and visitor experience. Initially, we only expect two or three funerals per day, but services will be at hourly intervals to give mourners more time to pay a respectful farewell. We will be providing the latest audio visual system to enable families to personalise the service and there will be the facility to live-stream the funeral via the internet to relatives that cannot attend the service. The latest cremator technology will be installed that complies with all current environmental legislation and is similar to what we operate at our crematorium in Bishop Auckland.
— Steve Gant, Crematorium Director, Dignity Plc

Following a fairly lengthy planning approval period, the project has now reached the tendering stage to appoint a designated contractor. Work is expected to start in the spring, with completion scheduled for 2019.