English tree inspires name of crematorium

Artist's impression of The Oaks, the new crematorium for Havant
Artist's impression of The Oaks, the new crematorium for Havant

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THEY are the quintessential English trees – and now a major development in Havant will be named after them.

Havant’s new multi-million pound crematorium will be called The Oaks.

The name was chosen by staff at The Southern Co-operative, which will start work on the eco-friendly crematorium off Bartons Road in November.

It is fitting as the site is surrounded by ancient woodland with an abundance of mature oaks.

The woodland was part of the ancient Forest of Bere and is believed to have been used for deer hunting by the Bishop of Winchester in medieval times.

Steve Pearce, chief operating officer for end of life services at The Southern Co-operative, said: ‘Colleagues were asked to suggest appropriate names for the crematorium.

‘The Oaks was a popular suggestion, reflecting both the heritage and present-day landscape and its connotation within English culture of strength and trustworthiness.’

As previously reported in The News, the crematorium was given full planning permission in March.

The 4,200sq ft building will be surrounded by a memorial garden, a wild flower meadow and a copse for mourners to plant trees for loved ones.

The roof of the building will be covered in grass.

It is planned to use oak in the design of the building, as well as for seating in the grounds.

It is hoped the crematorium will ease pressure on Portchester Crematorium.

Sandwiched between Havant and Rowlands Castle, the crematorium will serve the Havant area and East Hampshire, as well as Chichester.

Chairman of Rowlands Castle Parish Council John Pickering was pleased with the name.

He said: ‘We just wish them well in getting on with it.

‘I supported it because the evidence was there was a need for additional capacity.

‘The Co-op made a very convincing set of proposals which indicated the whole thing was going to be sympathetically designed.’

The Oaks is due to open towards the end of next year.

The Southern Co-operative will put the contract to build the crematorium out for tender in the coming months.