GRIEVING families in East Renfrewshire will soon be able to hold funerals closer to home, after plans for the area’s first crematorium were given the green light.

The multi-million pound project will see the crematorium take shape on 15 acres of greenspace in Barrhead.

East Renfrewshire Council has approved the development, which will based to the west of Glasgow Road, next to St Conval’s Cemetery.

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It means local residents will no longer face a trip to Linn Crematorium, near Cathcart, or Woodside Crematorium, in Paisley, if they want to have a loved one cremated.

Horizon Cremation, who are behind the development, hope to start work at the site by the end of this year, with the crematorium up and running by the end of 2020 or early 2021.

Up to 40 jobs will be created during the construction phase, with six full-time positions to be filled once the crematorium is open for business.

A separate planning application has been lodged by Sava Estates to open a funeral parlour at a nearby site previously occupied by The Hurlet pub-restaurant, which closed its doors suddenly in March.

Planning chiefs at East Renfrewshire Council have yet to consider that application.

Jeremy Hamilton, director of Horizon Cremation, said the new crematorium is “much needed” in the local area.

He told the Barrhead News: “We are absolutely delighted with the planning approval for a modern crematorium within East Renfrewshire.

“This will make a huge difference for Barrhead families and the wider communities across East Renfrewshire by providing a dedicated, high-quality and inspiring crematorium facility.”

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The new crematorium will offer “comfortable” seating for 100 people within the main ceremony hall, with a floor-to-ceiling feature window offering uninterrupted views across the surrounding hills and fields.

There will also be a large public waiting area with capacity for a further 100 people, incorporating widescreen monitors and high-end audio, through which mourners can watch services taking place in the main ceremony hall.

Other technological advances will see high-definition monitors and audio within the ceremony hall, on which ‘visual tributes’ can be broadcast.

This is a relatively new innovation that allows families to collate images and video that can be displayed throughout the service, helping to make the experience more personal.

In addition, secure webcast services will be available, allowing people who are unable to attend the funeral in person, such as relatives and friends who are based overseas or those who are housebound or in hospital, the opportunity to watch the proceedings online in real time.

Outside the crematorium, there will be landscaped gardens, including a memorial space that people can return to at any time if they want to remember loved ones they have lost.

There was a mixed reaction to the crematorium plans when they were first revealed by the Barrhead News earlier this year.

Supporters welcomed the idea of having less distance to travel when attending a funeral.

However, others expressed concern about the potential for traffic chaos on one of Barrhead’s busiest roads.

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The team behind the Barrhead development already operate a crematorium within Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park.

Opened last summer, the Clyde Coast and Garnock Valley Crematorium will act as a template for the new business in East Renfrewshire.

Mr Hamilton said: “We know from the Clyde Coast and Garnock Valley Crematorium how crucially important it is for families to have access to a caring and compassionate funeral service.

“Bereavement can be a very difficult experience and it is essential that families receive the support they need. This includes access to a well-designed and comfortable crematorium facility.

“Our whole focus, our mission, is on providing the very highest levels of care, compassion and service from within unique, modern and inspiring crematorium buildings.

“We want to help make the bereavement and funeral service as special and memorable as possible and the new crematorium at The Hurlet will significantly help Barrhead families when care and support is most needed.”