Mourners at a crematorium will be able to drown their sorrows on-site, without needing to travel elsewhere for a wake. A fully-licensed bar is part of plans at Westerleigh Crematorium in South Gloucestershire, to open a bereavement suite which will host post-funeral gatherings. It is thought to be the first bar of its kind in the UK, and will give families the option of staging the whole send-off at the same venue, without the need to travel.
The new hospitality suite, along with a second chapel, will open in February 2016.
A spokesman for Westerleigh said that the design for the new hospitality suite includes a grass roof, with views which make the most of the crematorium’s leafy grounds.
He said: “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.”
The Westerleigh Group, which owns the crematorium, operates 21 crematoria around the country.
The firm plans to obtain alcohol licenses for the majority of its sites.
Ewen Macgregor, a licensing partner at law firm Bond Dickinson, who helped the crematorium secure the licence, said the application was “unique”.
He said: “I am really pleased that we have been able to secure this first alcohol licence for Westerleigh.
“Although in our experience a unique application, Westerleigh were very clear in what they were hoping to achieve.”
Local vicars have also supported plans for a bar at the crematorium, which opened in 1992.
Reverend Michael Swain said: “Many families complain that there is nowhere suitable nearby where you can hold a small gathering for friends and family after the service.
People do not often like using pubs, they are often too small and difficult to access in any case.”