Twentymans Funeral Services wins appeal for Thames crematorium
Twentymans Funeral Services in Thames is celebrating what it describes as a bittersweet legal victory after spending $40,000 to prove it is allowed to serve those who choose cremation.
Twentymans undertook an appeal against Thames-Coromandel District Council over the suitability of its commercial site for a cremator when the council appointed a Commissioner who ruled that it was not.
Owner and Managing Director Adrian Catran - a descendant of tin miners who arrived on the newly proclaimed goldfield 150 years ago from Cornwall – says the process was a “frustrating and costly delay by a risk-averse Council”.
Adrian’s ancestors lived a few streets from where Adrian now lives and runs his funeral directing business.
As the town celebrates 150 years this year since the goldfields were proclaimed open, he says it was an indictment on council processes that it has cost him so much. “
Twentymans always held the opinion that a Certificate of Compliance could and should have been issued, allowing us to put a cremator inside a building behind our funeral home."
" I want to thank the many supporters who either phoned, called in, emailed or who signed the petition in support of a cremator here. It was indeed heartening to know just how much support was out there and that support encouraged us to push on with our appeal.
“Despite the protestations of a very vocal minority, the need for a locally operated cremator in the Thames area is paramount. The application, as assessed by an independent planning consultant engaged by TCDC, was given the go-ahead initially. In all, three planning consultants advised Twentymans that a cremator was a permitted activity, and yet the Council chose to ask for another opinion – and then denied us a Certificate of Compliance when his opinion was a ‘no’,” Mr. Catran said.
Twentymans appealed the decision of the Council’s commissioner and were proven to be correct, with a decision released yesterday.
Twentymans will now apply for a discharge consent from Waikato Regional Council to operate the cremator and seek permission from the Director General of Health.
A spokesperson for a Thames community group, Not In the CBD, told media the group was prepared to go to court to stop the crematorium going ahead and more protests were planned. The group hasn't given up, intends to have the cremator stopped and will be making council aware of how the town feels, according to her statement.