CONCERNS have been raised by local councillors over Salisbury City Council's "financial dependency" on its crematorium.

The authority-run building, on Barrington Road, is said to be one of the council's main sources of income, according to members at Full Council last month.

One issue highlighted was that the council's income from the site is down, which prompted calls for others sources of cashflow to be explored.

However, a point made in response to criticism by budget chief Councillor Simon Jackson was that "the competition is higher" for cremations nowadays, and also that "less people are dying".

Salisbury Journal: Salisbury CrematoriumSalisbury Crematorium

As a result, some councillors questioned whether changes should be made to certain fees, such as no longer allowing free cremations for those under the age of 21.

But this was heavily pushed back by several members, including mayor Councillor John Walsh and leader Councillor Jeremy Nettle.

They argued that the loss of someone so young was "painful enough" that any cost associated should be, and will continued to be, waived.

It is not known how much of the council’s current income the crematorium brings in, but in 2018-19 it received £1,330,932.

Another suggestion presented was that the authority should look to expand its property portfolio.

This was voiced by Councillor Matt Dean, who warned that “radical” change is needed if the council is to become more sustainable.

“I’m very concerned about the problem that this council will be in in five years time, if we do not start preparing for it now,” he said.

“If we do nothing, it will mean our successors will have to raise the precept significantly.”

As reported, the crematorium went through a £2.3 million refurbishment back in 2014.

The building was in desperate need of being brought up to date, having not been altered since it was opened in the 1960s.

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