Plans approved for refurbishment of Stranton Crematorium Chapel - although a new site is needed in the long term
Hartlepool councillors have backed plans to refurbish Stranton Crematorium Chapel, stating the issue has ‘dragged on for years’.
However members of the Hartlepool Borough Council Neighbourhood Services Committee noted longer-term they would need to look for a completely new crematorium site in the town.
The building was built in the late 19th Century and council officers said the chapel is in a ‘poor condition’ and has suffered ‘repeated rainwater penetration over many years’.
A number of options were considered as solutions including doing nothing, or closing the building for three to four months whilst work was carried out.
However councillors backed the preferred option from officers of keeping the chapel open and carrying out the work in one space while the other is kept in operation.
While this will extend the contract and increase costs, council officers said work would take place Friday to Monday in order to minimise the impact on services.
Councillors said the refurbishment was long-overdue but noted further work is likely to be needed in the future to provide the town with a new crematorium if a site can be found.
Coun Dave Hunter said: “This has dragged on for years now, and all the way through this the only people who are suffering are the residents of Hartlepool who are having to use that building.
“It needs a refurbishment now, it shouldn’t be delayed any longer.”
Council officers said work would hopefully take place next spring/summer.
Coun Marjorie James said: “We have to have a long term outcome for our crematorium because we can’t just keep throwing money at a building that is beyond its sell-by-date.”
Coun Brenda Loynes said: “It looks awful. We really need to do something. It’s past its sell-by-date, yes we do a bit of remedial work now, but really we need to look at a new one, if it’s on the edge of the town so be it.”
Council officers added they were ‘equally as frustrated’ on the delay in getting the chapel refurbished.
Tony Hanson, council assistant director of environment and neighbourhood services said: “Potential to provide a new crematorium elsewhere is being investigated however an appropriate site could not be identified at this moment in time.”
During refurbishment the building will need a scaffold installation externally for pointing and internally for plasterwork, lighting installation and decoration.
Temporary staging, curtains and opening to the crematorium room would need to be constructed when services move from the main chapel to the secondary chapel in the building to allow for work.
The report stresses work areas would be discreetly isolated from the service area and construction would not be carried out during services.