OBESE Stourbridge residents may not be able to have their final send off at the town's crematorium as the ageing facility's cremators are too small to accommodate the increased need for supersized coffins.

Stourbridge Crematorium accepts coffins up to 28 inches wide (just over two feet) so families seeking to cremate a loved one requiring a larger, oversized coffin are having to be referred to Gornal Wood Crematorium which underwent a £1.2million revamp in 2012 and which can now accommodate larger 37-inch (three feet) wide coffins.

One Stourbridge funeral director told the News: "We get coffins to fit each individual but if your coffin is larger than average we do have to sit down with families and have a sensitive discussion.

“It’s no secret. We have to keep very much an eye on it. If you’re dealing with somebody a little bit larger than average - it’s a delicate subject. We have to be very sensitive about how we approach it.

"It happens all over the country though – it’s something everybody has been having to come to terms with."

“It’s probably a little bit more regular than you might imagine.”

Nearly a quarter of adults (24.2 per cent) in the Dudley borough are obese, and 23.4 per cent in England, so it's no surprise that it's become a funeral industry trend to consider plus sized coffins and cremators.

Stourbridge Crematorium, which opened in 1960, is due for a £1million upgrade next year which will include work to ensure the facility can accommodate larger coffins - although Dudley Council bosses have stressed the revamp has not specifically been ordered to tackle the issue of supersized coffins proving too large for the current cremators.

Councillor Ian Kettle, Dudley's cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: “The cremators at Stourbridge Crematorium are approaching the end of their serviceable life, which is why we are planning to install new energy efficient ones next year.

“During this work we will take the opportunity to ensure we can accommodate larger coffins in line with the latest industry recommendations.”

Council papers indicate the current cremators at Stourbridge have exceeded "their intended operational life".

A report to the cabinet in February 2018 said, due to the age of the machines, parts were "becoming increasingly more difficult to source and there are only a small number of crematoria in the country that still have this type of cremator".

It added: "It is inevitable that at some point in the future, parts on the cremators will break down and they may not be able to be replaced, resulting in the inability to cremate at Stourbridge Crematorium."

The report said the new cremators would be more efficient and would "allow for larger coffins to be cremated where necessary".

Works also aim to increase capacity in the chapel, improve waiting areas and allow for the possible inclusion of a cafe facility.

The cabinet was told in September this year that the upgrade had hit delays in the design phase and the works would now not start until early 2020.