THE first funeral has taken place at a new private crematorium after a £4million investment by a Dorset funeral director.

Tapper Funeral Service built the county’s fourth crematorium in woodland at Lytchett Minster – the first to open in the county for more than 30 years.

It says its facility, Harbour View Crematorium, will ease the pressure at council-run crematoria.

The 70-acre site, which has a view of Poole Harbour and the Purbeck hills.

Steven Tapper, joint managing director at Tapper Funeral Service, said: ‘‘We are pleased to declare that Harbour View Crematorium is now open and already serving the local community.

“Since opening, we have received positive feedback from our clients who have expressed that ‘the view that can be seen from the refreshments room changed the whole atmosphere, and guests felt uplifted by the light streaming into the building’.

“Another added that ‘the spiritual sense of occasion in the crematorium chapel is like nothing they have previously experienced’.

“We are already busy with enquiries and hope that by opening our crematorium at Harbour View it will ease pressure on existing crematoria in Dorset.

“Our crematorium will also provide an alternative choice for people in the Isle of Purbeck, Dorchester, Blandford, Weymouth and Wool.’’

The facilities include the Purbeck Tea Room, an on-site refreshment venue which can be used after a funeral. The funeral directors say families will have the opportunity to plan the funeral they want and will be given the time they need to say goodbye to loved ones.

Harbour View will offer more flexible services, including weekend funerals.

The company says the crematorium’s design was inspired by Nine Barrow Down in the Purbeck hills. Purbeck stone was used to create the interior and exterior of the building, including the Long Barrow ceremony hall.

The design is intended to complement its surroundings and offer a tranquil space.

Poole’s public crematorium is said to face the most demand of any single-chapel crematorium in the country, with Bournemouth the fourth highest.