Things are at last hotting up in Burton upon Trent, where the local council and the borough council, joint owners of nearby Bretby crematorium, are considering a sell-out to Midlands Co-op for around £8 million.
Local undertakers are rubbing their hands with glee. The Co-op is the most gleeful, of course. Other fans of the move are Wellings Funeral Service, W Newton and Son, JH Grice Funeral Services, and Ward & Brewin Funeral Service. All these businesses… ah, you’ve guessed it. Yes, they all belong to Midlands Bloody Co-op.
There are just two genuinely independent FDs serving the good people of Burton and environs. They are S & L Murray and J Hylton & Sons. Hylton’s have started a petition against the sell-out; Sue Murray has written at sad and furious length to the local paper.
There has been no consultation with the public about the proposed sell-out, and it is difficult to discern a motive. There is a theory that the public sector couldn’t run a whelk stall, but Bretby crem is run by conspicuously nice, kind and helpful people – and it makes a profit. It seems to need no gigantic refurbishment. It is highly regarded.
And it belongs to the people, who haven’t been consulted.
If the Co-op succeeds in its bid, it will have a virtual monopoly on funeral services in Burton.
I very much hope that, even at this late stage, when the sale already begins to look like a done deal, the people of Burton will make enough noise to stop it.