Cemetery building are put up for sale in North Tyneside
Quirky and unusual – these cemetery buildings in North Tyneside are up for sale after standing vacant for years.
North Tyneside Council is seeking to offload four buildings deemed surplus to requirements in Wallsend.
They are The Lodge, West Chapel and East Chapel (including the chapels’ Coffin Biers) at Church Bank Cemetery, and The Lodge at Holy Cross Cemetery.
The council will listen to offers for the buildings, which are all in need of renovation, but retain stonework and original features, including coffin biers, the single-storey structures used for the temporary display of coffins.
The move will help raise funds for a major programme of repairs and improvements for the council’s remaining facilities, while also removing the burden of future repair costs.
Plans include improving road access at Whitley Bay cemetery and replacing its cremators; enhancing the Book of Remembrance room at Preston Cemetery; and carrying out repairs to other cemetery buildings.
The council’s bereavement services have achieved the Gold Standard Award following an assessment by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM).
Phil Scott, head of environment, housing and leisure, said: “We’re proud of the great service provided by our bereavement team. However, we recognise that the borough’s cemetery facilities are in need of investment to bring them all up to the same high standard.
“We intend to invite expressions of interest in some of our vacant and unused cemetery buildings.
“Their sale would contribute towards the significant investment we’re making in the rest of our cemetery facilities, but it also presents a rare opportunity for someone to own one of the borough’s historical ecclesiastical buildings and bring it back to life.”
The authority, supported by its partner Capita, reviewed all cemetery buildings in the borough. An assessment was made of particular characteristics, ranging from condition to restrictions on alternative use.
The council now intends to invite expressions of interest for the four vacant buildings.
Meanwhile, dilapidated outbuildings at Preston and Benton cemeteries, as well the toilet block at Benton, would be demolished.
Preston Cemetery – The Book of Remembrance room will be extended, enabling an electronic book and seating to be installed. It will allow floral displays to be segregated as these cause condensation in the current shared room.
The cemetery would also become the hub for the council’s bereavement services team.
Its vacant North Lodge would become an operational base for staff, while dilapidated outbuildings would be demolished to make way for vehicle and equipment storage.
Whitley Bay Cemetery – The two cremators need to be upgraded. They will be replaced with one larger size cremator fitted with mercury abatement equipment, reducing emissions. The entry and exit will be improved for traffic and the road running through the cemetery will be resurfaced.
An extensive programme of repairs to cemetery buildings across the borough will be delivered over the next six years.