‘LONG overdue’ improvements costing more than £200,000 will bring Portchester Crematorium up to modern standards.
Portsmouth councillors are due to approve refurbishment to the site’s north chapel with work set to begin this summer.
The crematorium has required constant maintenance work such as paving and glazing repairs since it opened in 1958. However, this project will be the most expensive in recent years with a budget of £205,000.
James Clark, the crematorium’s manager and registrar, explained why the refurbishment was needed.
He said: ‘The whole chapel will be completely stripped out and redecorated. It’s not just a question of giving it a lick of paint or some new wallpaper. It’s a bit old fashioned.
‘It needs whole new seating and lighting and general modernisation, but this is still part of ongoing work that always needs to be done.
‘This will create a nicer environment for families and friends when they come here.’
The chapel was updated a few years ago, but the north chapel, which opened in 1969, is yet to be improved.
Councillor Frank Jonas, who chairs the Portchester Crematorium joint committee, is hopeful that members of the public will benefit from the work.
‘I am quite excited about it.’ he said. ‘What we will be able to offer the public will be better than before.
‘The chapel is in urgent need of an update. People have been consulted from undertakers to councillors, it was a joint decision.
‘It’s one of the most difficult times in someone’s life so we should make the surroundings as pleasant as possible.’
When the crematorium first opened it carried out 400 cremations a year. That figure has increased to more than 3,300 annually.
In 2018 so far there have been 66 more cremations at Portchester, with 703 compared to 637 in January and February last year.