Contractor appointed as plans press ahead to enlarge and improve South Shields Crematorium
A project to create a larger and improved crematorium for South Tyneside is pressing ahead, with plans approved and a contractor appointed to deliver the work.
South Tyneside Council set out plans earlier this year for an enlarged chapel which will increase capacity at the facility by 126, resulting in seating for more than 200 visitors with additional standing space for larger funerals.
The development of the 1960s facility on John Reid Road also involves repositioning the pulpit and rearranging some of the seating to provide ‘better sight lines for those paying their final respects to family and friends’.
A partition between the existing chapel and extension which can be used when required for smaller funerals is also included.
As reported in the Gazette, planning permission was granted last week, and now Surgo Construction has been awarded the contract to extend the chapel into the existing internal courtyard area.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, lead member for Area Management and Community Safety, at South Tyneside Council, said: “It’s great to see the scheme moving forward.
“South Shields Crematorium plays a key role in the community, supporting our residents at what can be an extremely distressing and difficult time in their lives. As the only crematorium to serve the entire Borough, it is important the building is fit for purpose and can cater for larger funerals.
“We are delighted to welcome Surgo on board to deliver the improvements needed. Surgo is a North East company with a strong track record in delivering high quality construction projects across the region. Now that we have a contractor appointed, and planning permission has been granted, we look forward to the work getting underway in the coming months.”
Designed by Newcastle-based architectural practice, GSSArchitecture, the £800,000 project will not only increase capacity but will involve modernising the building with new furniture and a full redecoration of the existing chapel, entrance and exit lobby and waiting area.
The decision to appoint Surgo as the contractor for the works was made by the council’s cabinet.
Martin Blight, Surgo’s pre-construction director, said: “We are delighted that South Tyneside Council has selected Surgo to undertake this project, following the successful completion of our work at the coroners court earlier this year, and we are pleased to have this further opportunity to draw on our expertise of delivering projects within complex working environments.
“We set out a clear plan in our pre-start methodology about how the extension should be built to cause minimum disruption. By its very nature, the project will require the utmost sensitivity and care so that we are inconspicuous to all those who need to use the crematorium throughout the construction programme.”
Construction work is expected to take up to 38 weeks to complete and Cllr Gibson said work has been scheduled to minimise disruption to services wherever possible.
It is anticipated that the crematorium will need to close for services for up to 12 weeks in the final stages of the work programme next summer.
Cremations will still take place, but it will not be possible to hold services or memorials.
Cllr Gibson said the council’s Bereavement Team will support families in making alternative arrangements for services to take place at chapels in other parts of the Borough.