Crematorium expansion is given the seal of approval

Hastings Crematorium
Hastings Crematorium

The council has given the go-ahead for more than £100,000 to be spent improving Hastings Crematorium.

Councillors on the Cabinet committee voted to approve the works at their meeting on Monday (January 5).

They said that enhancements to the crematorium, based on The Ridge, were ‘long overdue’.

A report written by Virginia Gilbert, the council’s head of amenities, resorts and leisure, was discussed at Monday’s meeting.

It said: “Larger funerals with 100 or more mourners have become a frequent occurrence as people opt to use the crematorium chapel for funeral services rather than just committals.

“The current chapel facilities at Hastings Crematorium are not large enough to seat everyone and the overflow facilities need improving.

“This project will expand our seating and viewing capacity by refurbishing the eastern chapel, improving audio and video links to the main chapel and installing a new flower and memorial plaque display area on the lawn opposite the eastern chapel.”

The total cost of the works will be £103,017 excluding VAT, councillors on the Cabinet committee heard on Monday.

The chapel was adapted from the original built in 1856 to accommodate the new crematorium in 1955.

It was further extended in 1987 when the cloisters at the western end were incorporated.

The old eastern chapel was converted as an overspill area where those mourners who could not get into the main chapel could observe the service via video link.

The current chapel has room for 70 sitting mourners and 30 standing, many of whom do not get a view of the speaker at the lectern or the coffin.

“Many people have expressed their unhappiness with the facilities at large funerals and with the quality of the audio and video link,” the report added.

The council said the number of mourners attending Hastings Crematorium were also increasing.

On average the crematorium is host to between 10 and 12 funerals each month where numbers exceed the maximum capacity.

At Monday’s Cabinet meeting, Richard Homewood, the council’s director of environmental services, said: “We have been conscious for some time that we need to improve the facilities at the crematorium for people, for whom can be a distressing time.”

Councillor Dawn Poole, Hastings Borough Council’s lead member for leisure and amenities, said: “These changes at the crematorium are long overdue.

“Hopefully these improvements will make things far less difficult for those grieving.”