A blank sheet of paper
With the need identified, ERYC’s in-house Building Design team was engaged for the next stage of the process and with no such facility having been built since 1998, it was new territory for Principal Architect, Paul Bird. “We had to research regulations regarding designing a crematorium – which we’d never done before.” he said. Close collaboration with Kier enabled the smooth integration and management of the project.
“It was really useful to have a contractor who was willing to sit down and talk and listen to us,” said Paul.
Throughout the build, Kier maintained ongoing supply chain engagement. This in turn helped forecast and manage potential delays, due to materials shortages and rising fuel, labour and materials costs.
Discovering potential archaeology on site required a complete repositioning of the scheme to avoid problem areas. This also meant abandoning plans to develop and earth sheltered building retaining soil to construct the walls. A November start also found the site in its worst condition. The bearing capacity of the ground was severely affected and was also quite unworkable. To reduce the risk of future settlement and movement of the building, it was necessary to develop a scheme of 'vibro stone' columns, particularly under the pad foundations to improve the capacity of the ground. All earthworks were reused on site, avoiding removal costs and extra traffic. Delivered during Covid-19 operational restrictions, Kier kept the works on schedule with no working days lost due to the pandemic.
The building is symmetrically arranged around a central cremator hall, providing access for mourners from either end of the building via waiting rooms, under a covered porte-cochere. There is also an administration suite, located at the centre and changing facilities. Lelley Fields has two halls for services: Oak Hall, which seats up to 100 people, plus another 40-50 standing and Birch Hall which seats up to 50 people, plus another 20-30 standing. Each hall is designed to be an adaptable space with movable seating and catafalques. Built-in media systems bring music, photos and video to the service and state-of-the-art lighting provides a choice of colours. The halls also have feature windows to bring the Holderness landscape into the space.
The council was keen to create a site with an environmentally conscious design and green building principles. The project incorporates a number of features to enhance the sustainability of the development. This includes heat recovery from the cremators, very low air permeability ratings of 3.0 m3/h/m2, very high levels of thermal insulation, low emissivity glazing systems, deep roof overhangs and a very low perimeter to floor area ratio. There are also electric car charging points in the car park. The design response to the brief and site provides a respectful, highly sustainable solution, sympathetic to the rural setting and location within the community.
Peaceful and tranquil
The council-run facility offers a peaceful and tranquil place for bereaved relatives and friends to commemorate their loved ones. The landscaped grounds provide open spaces, wooded areas, ponds and willow tunnels, sculptural trees with memorial leaves engraved with messages of remembrance and ample space for people to walk and talk, or sit and reflect, enjoying the tranquillity and views. There is also a dedicated children’s memoriam area and special areas designed for younger visitors to play in.
Minimising environmental impact
Ashes to be spread at Lelley Fields are mixed with RTN (Return To Nature) soil, which counteracts the high levels of sodium within the ashes and unlocks the nutrients so that plants in the gardens are not damaged and can flourish.
After the cremation process there may be some metal remains from the coffin or from orthopaedic implants such as titanium hip replacements. Where consent is given by relatives, Lelley Fields sends the metal to a specialist recycling business. Proceeds are returned and distributed to local charities and used for community benefit at the facility.
Only natural floral tributes are used at Lelley Fields, as these can be composted and put back into the gardens. The landscaped site has had numerous bird and bat boxes installed to encourage wildlife.
The crematorium's manager Christine Kelly Walker and deputy manager Lucy Bishop have 28 years experience between them in the bereavement and crematorium sector and lead a dedicated team of support staff. Christine said, "If we've done a good job, we should be invisible to the public. The focus of a person's visit here is the memory of their loved one and that final goodbye."
At the opening of the facility Councillor John Whittle, Chairman of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said “It’s been a great privilege to meet the staff who actually do the work here. What a fantastic group of people they are too. A real attention to detail, a faith in what they are doing and an understanding of the complexity of running a crematorium.”
Throughout the project, Kier supported a number of social value initiatives and delivered 4 community projects including a refresh of Preston Community Hall and sponsoring the village Jubilee celebrations, 112 weeks of apprenticeship support through our supply chain, 7 educational site visits and workshops and an on-site planting session within the gardens.
The facility supports the local economy and enables ERYC to offer an affordable choice at a time when vulnerable residents are facing widespread 'funeral poverty', with services priced lower than privately-operated competition. Gillian Barley, Director of Revenues and Procurement at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said "Everyone's worked so well together. It's just been a really well managed, collaborative piece of work."