Solar panels to be fitted at South Shields Crematorium '“ and could save Â£1,000 a year
The new roofing system at the crematorium, on John Reid Road, was installed last year, replacing the previous one, which was more than 50 years old.
Around 30 solar panels are now to be fitted to the roof, with the work to start on Friday.
The panels will help to save energy and cut running costs at the 1960s building by about £1,000 a year.
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “South Shields Crematorium provides an important service for local people at what can be an extremely difficult and distressing time, and we want to make sure they continue to receive a high quality service and facilities from the council.
“That is why we are investing in the building and making a series of improvements on the site.
“This latest upgrade work will not only help the crematorium to generate its own electricity by maximising the power of the sun, but will help us to reduce our carbon footprint, in turn making annual savings on the building’s running costs.”
There will be some disruption to service while the installation is carried out over two long weekends.
The work will start on Friday 26 February until 5pm on Monday, and will resume again on Friday, March 4 until Monday, March 7. Scaffolding will be removed on Saturday, March 12.
During this period, a schedule has been put in place to enable full use of the crematorium on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The crematorium grounds, memorial gardens and external areas will also remain open on Fridays and Mondays for people wishing to pay their respects.
The solar panels installation comes following a number of internal changes, as well as the completion of a large steel and glass canopy created over the main door to provide better shelter for bereaved families gathering at the entrance ahead of funeral services.
Work will soon begin to boost the number of parking spaces available within the crematorium grounds, with more than 30 additional bays being created, including disabled parking.
The council is also upgrading the crematorium’s audio system to improve sound quality during services.
A TV will be installed in the entrance vestibule so that funeral services can be screened to visitors outside the main chapel.
Further developments planned over the next year include making alterations to the exit corridor and increasing the size of the lobby area where families are greeted as guests leave the building.
Coun Dixon added: “The crematorium improvement programme is progressing well, with the new roof and canopy being just the start of a series of external improvements to the building and grounds.
“Great care has been taken to reduce the impact of these latest solar panel works on the operation of the crematorium so that people can continue to reflect and pay their respects to loved ones.”
For further information about South Shields Crematorium, contact the council’s Bereavement Services on 0191 427 3190.