WORK got underway to build a new crematorium in Charlton this week.

National cremations specialist Pure Cremation has begun creating a chapel capable of seating up to 80 mourners, a cremator hall, vestry, administration office and car parking on what was the one-time Charlton nursery site in Hatherden Road.

The site, which will be named Charlton Park Crematorium, will be open from spring 2019 to give loved ones the chance to say goodbye, as well as hosting unattended cremations.

Last month, Pure Cremation’s planning application to expand its operations, with an estimated 10,000 bodies to come for direct cremations, was refused by Test Valley councillors on the grounds it was inappropriate development for the countryside.

The bodies would have come from across England and Wales.

Catherine Powell, director and co-founder of Pure Cremation, said: “Charlton Park Crematorium will first and foremost meet the requirements of the local community; increasing choice for Andover residents, and reducing distressing travel time for those planning a cremation for a loved one.

“Our whole business is focussed on the quality of the customer experience and we are looking forward to bringing our considerable expertise to serving and supporting the Andover community, with all the care and dignity they deserve.”

The 11-acre grounds has been “thoughtfully-planned” according to the company to ensure the retention of all protected trees and further boundary planting to create a “tranquil setting” for funeral services.

A Fareham-based contractor, Amiri Construction, is employing up to 100 local tradespeople and sub-contractors to carry out the work for the Charlton Park Crematorium construction.

Amiri Construction director Mark Vincent said: “Pure Cremation shares our values when it comes to being a ‘good neighbour’ and the importance of working in a respectful, community-minded manner.

“We are proud to have been given the opportunity to work with the pioneering business to deliver this highly impressive scheme, which we are sure will become a real asset to the Andover community.”