A MUCH-NEEDED improvement programme costing more than £200,000 will start this summer at Portchester Crematorium.
Councillors today approved a plan for refurbishment on the site’s north chapel. Budgeted at £205,000 the modernisation will include new seating, lighting and flooring.
This will be the first time the chapel has received work, barring general maintenance, since its opening in 1969. The crematorium’s south chapel was refurbished a few years ago, however this will be the most expensive overhaul the site has seen.
Other improvements were carried out at the crematorium in recent years including an office refurbishment and internal redecorations.
It is hoped the update will create a more pleasant atmosphere for family and friends. Councillor Frank Jonas, who chairs the Portchester Crematorium joint committee, said: ‘We are trying to bring the chapel up to date to make it more amenable to friends and relatives who have come to the crematorium to pay their respects.
‘It can be a very stressful time for some people and if we can relieve some of that then it’s worth it.’
Fareham Borough Council’s property manager, Ian Cousins, added: ‘The basic plan is to follow the design of the south chapel.
‘It really needs to be modernised as it’s considered a bit outdated. We will improve the lighting and change the seating. At the moment the chapel has underfloor heating which isn’t really appropriate. The existing flooring will be pulled up.’
In 2018 so far there have been 66 more cremations than this time last year with 703 compared to 637 for January and February.
When the crematorium first opened in 1958 it carried out 400 cremations a year. Annually that figure has increased to more than 3,300.