Major improvement works to City of York Council’s York Crematorium, on Bishopthorpe Road, will start this month.
The £1.7million refurbishment will take place over a six-month period and is the first time in 50 years, since the Crematorium opened in 1962, that works of this scale have taken place.
The main part of the improvements works will be the provision of two new cremators (one large and one standard size) at a cost of £1.2milion, which will urgently replace the three existing cremators.
The two cremators will have a new filtration, or mercury removal capability, which all crematories across the country are required to have, by a new legalisation set out by the Secretary of State, in order to reduce mercury emissions by 50 percent by 2013. All authorities are required to have the filtration carried out by December 2012.
The filtration will also work as a heat recovery system and will be installed to recycle the warm gases that are omitted from the chimney during the cremation process. The recovered gases will then generate heat to be used within both chapels and auxiliary buildings helping to reduce our carbon footprint and also making an estimated saving of approximately 10 per cent on gas utility costs per year.
Cllr Dafydd Williams, Cabinet Member for Crime and Stronger Communities, said: “Since the sixties the fabric of the York Crematorium building has remained the same, but the number of cremations has steadily increased to 11 services a day, which has led to the second chapel being rarely used due to lack of capacity.
“At a time when customers’ need our support more then ever we need to ensure that we can provide the best possible services. Whilst our staff at York crematorium provide an excellent service to customers, our facility must reflect this too, which is why this refurbishment is so important.”
To address this, and the increasing demand on crematorium services, much needed improvement works will take place from Monday 18 June to increase the size of the small chapel to allow an extra 20 people to use the facility and provide the chapel with its own entrance and exit.
Further improvements will take place within the main chapel including new carpeting, lighting, seating and decoration throughout. A further service enhancement, at an additional cost, will be to provide a web cast facility allowing family members who live some distance away from York to view the service in the comfort of their home.
The existing floral tribute area will be made more accesible/wheel chair friendly by constructing a path running to the palace wood area of the gardens of remembrance.
The final planned improvement will see the Chapel of Remembrance, which houses the Book of Remembrance, refurbished and there will also be separate atrium allowing visitors to display cut flowers in memory of relatives or friends.
Approval was given on the 18 November 2010 and was agreed by council on the 9 December 2010. The cost of the scheme will be funded through prudential borrowing over a 15-year period.
Works will be carried out by contractors William Birch & Co and there will be no disruption to services during this time.