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Setback for crematorium plan
A PROJECT to refurbish Salisbury Crematorium has hit a major setback after English Heritage listed the building three weeks before building work was due to start.
Salisbury City Council has been working on plans for the £2.29million refurbishment for almost two years. The council needs to upgrade equipment to bring the facility in line with government recommendations and decided to tie in the necessary work with improvements that would benefit mourners, including increased car parking, a new waiting room and foyer, better office facilities, a clergy room, upgraded toilets and making the whole facility accessible for disabled users.
The work was due to start on August 29 but English Heritage stepped in after two local residents, who remain anonymous, asked the organisation to consider listing the facility. It has given both the building and the grounds at Barrington Road Grade II listed status.
Council leader Jo Broom said: “The delay is of course unfortunate, however we shall be working closely with our planning colleagues at Wiltshire Council to ensure the project can resume as soon as possible.
“The proposal to list the facility came as a complete shock, as English Heritage have been aware of the project for some time and made no comments about it when it was considered by the planning authority earlier this year.
“That they can intervene at the request of just two people, and at the eleventh hour on a project that has been almost two years in the making and is so obviously needed, cannot be right.”
But English Heritage has said it was not aware of the proposals. A spokesman said: “The designation application was prompted by proposals for major works to the building. As the building wasn’t listed at the time, the planning team at English Heritage was not consulted or indeed not made aware of the planning application.”
The request to consider listing the building was done as a “spot designation” case, which means priority is given to historic buildings, landscapes and archaeology threatened with major change or demolition. English Heritage said these are usually turned around very quickly by it and the Department for Culture and Sport, which makes the final decision.
“The crematorium and grounds were recommended for designation at Grade II because of their special historic, architectural and design interest. The crematorium building is a good 1960s example of its type with a Scandinavian-inspired chapel, which makes excellent use of natural light. The grounds are an influential example of a crematorium landscape designed in 1956-58 by Brenda Colvin, a nationally important designer.”