East Cambridgeshire’s Liberal Democrats have “slammed” proposals recently made public for the “bereavement centre” being built at the former Mepal Outdoor Centre site.  

The group is particularly critical of the crematorium project’s branding and that £9m of developers' money for communities could be used to fund the scheme.

Lib Dem Cllr Mark Inskip represents the Sutton ward which also includes Mepal.  

He said: “Conservative councillors have rebranded their unpopular crematorium as a ‘bereavement centre’, but that doesn’t make it any more palatable.  

“And it doesn’t include any of the facilities expected in a real bereavement centre.  

“The Conservatives plan to build their crematorium using £9m of contributions from developers that were meant to benefit local communities.  

“Their plan robs our towns and villages of much-needed improvements.” 

East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) is seeking approval to use £9m of Community Infrastructure Levy money to build the multi-faith bereavement centre.  

This is outlined in the project’s full business plan, which will be presented to the finance & assets committee on Thursday (January 25). 

Cllr Alison Whelan, the Lib Dems Finance and Assets lead member, also questions elements of the business case and the carbon emissions it will generate. 

Ely Standard: The Mepal Outdoor Centre is going to be converted to a crematorium. The Mepal Outdoor Centre is going to be converted to a crematorium. (Image: Archant)

Conservatives hold the majority at ECDC and have been backing the crematorium project since the summer of 2020.  

They say the bereavement centre would feature one of the country’s first solar-powered electric cremators, a natural burial area and a pet cemetery.  

But the redevelopment has been fiercely criticised from the start, with residents keen to see the abandoned Mepal Outdoor Centre open again. 

“Should’ve been kept as an outside adventure park!!” commented one reader on Facebook when details of the business plan were posted. 

Cllr Anna Bailey, leader of ECDC, has previously pointed out the site had become prone to anti-social behaviour and targeted in arson attacks. 

She has also said the only leisure provider who showed an interest in reopening the centre decided the venture would not be viable.  

Ely Standard: An artist's impression of what the crematorium would look like.