Friday 9 December 2016

Mourners to raise a glass as crematorium is first to secure alcohol licence

Claire Hayhurst

Published 24/12/2015 | 11:35

A coffin (stock photo)
A coffin (stock photo)

A crematorium is believed to be the first in the UK to secure an alcohol licence.

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Westerleigh Crematorium has been granted the licence ahead of the opening of a new hospitality suite and cafe in February.

Building began in May for the new centre, along with a second chapel, at the 23-acre site near Bristol.

The cafe, serving regular customers as well as mourners, enjoys views across a wildlife pond.

Function rooms will offer bars and space for families to hold a "quiet, dignified wake" following a funeral, the crematorium said.

These rooms are divisible, allowing for parties between 20 and 150 people to hold an event without having to travel to another venue.

Richard Evans, managing director at the crematorium, said: "There has been strong support for the need for a second chapel and hospitality suite at Westerleigh with local funeral directors supporting our plans.

"For many families a wake or celebration after the service is a necessary event and it is not always convenient for them to set off again to meet in a hotel or pub, a point made by a local minister when supporting our planning application.

"The provision of a new hospitality suite will therefore cater for funeral parties who are looking for a simple, dignified event after the funeral, providing an onsite service which is comparable to the traditional funeral tea."

Plans for the site show three function suites - two with bars - with a cafe and kitchen area.

The crematorium, which opened in 1992, also features a new cemetery with both traditional and woodland burial areas.

A team at law firm Bond Dickinson secured the alcohol licence for Westerleigh Crematorium.

Ewen Macgregor, licensing partner at the firm, described the application as "unique".

"I am really pleased that we have been able to secure this first alcohol licence for Westerleigh," he said.

"Although in our experience a unique application, Westerleigh were very clear in what they were hoping to achieve. This helped greatly in our discussions with the statutory authorities.

"It also enabled the licence to be granted, without the need for a hearing, in advance of the hospitality suite and cafe opening in February 2016."

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