Sunday, 19 January 2020

Company chosen for chapel work

A COMPANY has been chosen to oversee the columbarium project at Fairmile Cemetery in Henley.

Plans to convert a disused chapel into a structure with 230 glass-covered niches for storing funeral urns are unlikely to progress until the spring due to damp issues.

Specialist architect West Waddy, based in Abingdon, has been chosen by Henley Town Council to manage the £100,000 project at the Grade II-listed chapel.

The company quoted £5,500 for the contract and was chosen over two other firms, based on the work it had already done alongside the council on other aspects of the columbarium.

Residents will be able to rent a niche for a relative’s ashes, which will remain on display at the columbarium for a period depending on how much they pay.

The town council applied for a £120,000 grant to the Oxfordshire LEADER scheme, part of the Rural Development Programme, but was told the project was not suitable for funding.

The scheme was initially estimated to cost £160,000 after the council ruled out converting the site into residential use but it has since been scaled back from 408 niches to save money.

Councillors felt a full winter period should elapse before work is undertaken following efforts to reduce the damp.

The town council took over responsibility for the cemetery from South Oxfordshire District Council in 2009.

Three years later the district council agreed to amend the covenants on the site to allow the non-conformist chapel to be converted into a visitor centre for the Henley Orwell Charitable Trust but the project was delayed indefinitely due to the organiser being unwell.

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