A three-week backlog for cremations in Leicestershire - claim
Funeral directors have warned that families are having to wait up to three weeks to have their loved ones cremated.
They say the delay is down to improvement work taking place at the same time at both Gilroes in Leicester and Loughborough crematorium.
Gilroes, which is undergoing a year-long £4 million improvement project, has one of its two chapels being refurbished.
Meanwhile, at the privately-owned Loughborough crematorium, work is being carried out to provide a new cremator to meet new legislation.
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Funeral directors are now demanding to know why the operators didn't communicate over when work was carried out to minimise disruption.
One Leicester funeral director, who asked not to be named, said: "My simple advice would be – don't die this summer.
"If you came to see me on a Monday, I'd normally be able to arrange a funeral for you by Friday. But not now, not if you want it in Leicestershire anyway. It's a big problem.
"You'd have to join the growing queue, which is now standing at three weeks. I fully expect that to get longer.
"If you want it earlier then you have to go outside the county – to Burton, Nottingham or Nuneaton.
"Much of this could have been avoided if someone at Gilroes had communicated with someone at Loughborough crematorium."
Another Leicester funeral director, who also asked not to be named, said: "It's a nightmare. I've had to go to Nuneaton with a local family. I've tried to book one in Leicester and the earliest I could get was for a week on Friday.
"Gilroes' four cremators are working, but they've now shut the east chapel for six weeks for refurbishment.
"Once they've finished on that, the west chapel will be shut for a similar period. No-one's listening to us."
But a city council spokesman said: "The services provided by Gilroes crematorium have remained largely unaffected by the improvement works.
"One of the two chapels at Gilroes will be closed for six weeks as part of these works, but the crematorium is open and operating at its normal level.
"We have had no complaints from any families or funeral directors, as we have worked hard to minimise any disruption to the services provided at Gilroes."
He said they had been keeping funeral directors informed of the plans and progress being made with the works.
He also said they could extend operating hours to help accommodate needs.
A spokesman for Loughborough Crematorium operators Dignity funerals Ltd said the new cremator was required to meet mercury abatement legislation by the end of the year.
The crematorium traditionally conducts a maximum of six funerals a day during the summer.
He said: "If additional services are required, we have made arrangements for the service to take place as normal in the chapel at Loughborough Crematorium, with a local crematorium undertaking the cremation of coffins."
He said all local funeral directors had been informed in writing of their plans.