AFTER 10 months and £2.3m investment, Salisbury’s upgraded and refurbished crematorium has reopened.

The crematorium, in Barrington Road, had not been refurbished since it was opened in the 1960s and was in desperate need of being brought up to date.

Mourners will now benefit from better parking, a proper waiting room and extra space for services.

Salisbury City Council started work on the project in 2009, as it needed to upgrade the equipment to bring the cremators and mercury abatement in line with government recommendations .

But the project hit a major setback in August 2012 when English Heritage listed the building three weeks before the work was due to start.

The council had to apply for listed building consent, upping the cost of the project by £100,000, and it didn’t close for refurbishment until March.

It now has bigger and better cremators, and the mercury abatement equipment means the council will get money back from the Government.

It was officially reopened by Mayor Penny Brown on Monday.

She said: “As the mayor, I am hugely proud to support a local project, particularly a sensitive one like this providing a very vital service to the community.”

She thanked the crematorium staff for their hard work as well as Holy Redeemer Church in Bishopdown, which held services while the crematorium was closed.

The new facilities include a comfortable waiting room and foyer, whereas before people often had to wait outside, better office facilities for staff and a vestry room for clergy and celebrants to get ready.

The space for services has also been made bigger to accommodate more mourners and the number of parking spaces has increased from 25 to 60.

Crematorium and cemeteries manager Neil Lucas said: “We’re extremely pleased and very proud to have this facility. They have done a fantastic job.

“People coming into the crematorium will find it’s not as cramped, and a more calming space.

“When it was built in the 60s, people had the service elsewhere and just had a family committal here, now people tend to have the whole service here so we needed better facilities.”