Shrewsbury’s crematorium is set to be sold off to a private firm in a multi-million pound deal after town council officials dropped out of the bidding to buy it.
Sources had claimed the cost of cremations could double if the site at Emstrey fell out of public hands.
It led to Shrewsbury Town Council launching a bid to buy it from Shropshire Council.
But members have unanimously voted for the council to withdraw from the tendering process because of “complications” involved with the site.
It is understood that town councillors were unhappy with the terms offered by Shropshire Council as well as fears about the high water table at the site, which led to concerns about drainage problems.
Councillor Alan Mosley, ward member for Castlefields and Ditherington, said: “The decision made by the town council was not to proceed any further with it.
“It wasn’t a good deal for us to buy the crematorium.”
Councillor Dave Farmer, ward member for Bagley, said it was a “shame” that the site would not remain in public hands.
He added: “We were left with no choice to be honest. If I was a businessman it’s something I would not take on.
“It’s a very sensitive subject but there are complications and from a business point of view it wasn’t a good investment.”
Earlier this year Shropshire Council member Ted Clarke called for the authority to spend £1.5 million on upgrading cremators at the site to meet new Government legislation concerning mercury emissions.
The Bayston Hill ward member also claimed it was in the “public interest” to keep the site in public hands and avoid a sell-off to a private firm.
He said the crematorium brought in £300,000 a year in revenue for the council and would pay back the investment within five years.
But Councillor Cecilia Motley, portfolio holder for public protection, said the council was looking to offload the crematorium in return for a long-term investment in the site by a private operator.
She said there was “no logical reason” for the council to improve the site itself.