Dip in cremations at Gorleston put down to new facility in Suffolk

Gorleston Crematorium.
Photo: Andy Darnell
Copy: Stephen Pullinger
For: EDP
Archant © 2007 (0160

Gorleston Crematorium. Photo: Andy Darnell Copy: Stephen Pullinger For: EDP Archant © 2007 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Archant © 2007

A dip in demand at Gorleston crematorium is being put down to a similar memorial park opening across the border in Suffolk.

The facility which has been serving a wide area since 1968 saw 500 fewer services in the first nine months of the financial year.

The shortfall means a predicted drop in income of £225,000, listed in budget papers as 'a service variance.'

According to a borough council report the situation is being monitored.

A spokesman said the reduced income was down to a drop in the number of cremations, adding: 'While the numbers of deaths can fluctuate from year to year, the lower anticipated demand at the Gorleston crematorium is thought to mainly stem from the opening of a new privately-operated crematorium at Ellough, Beccles, in November 2015.

'Previously, there was no crematorium directly servicing the large area between Gorleston and Ipswich, so families living there had to travel longer distances to their nearest crematorium, which was either Gorleston or Ipswich. The new crematorium is now their nearest crematorium so is more convenient for these people.'

The budget hole was revealed in papers seen by the policy and resources committee.

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Other services coming under the financial microscope included car parking.

Figures reveal that income from long-stay seafront car parks was lower than anticipated although short stay car parks exceeded the budgeted forecast.

Overall, and factoring in an IT upgrade and the cost of making the Beach Coach Station car park traveller proof, car parking income was down £85,000.

Meanwhile fewer eligible requests than expected for the Queen's 90th birthday grants resulted in a £13,000 under spend which will revert to the general reserve.

The papers also note un-budgeted repair costs to Bretts in Market Row, which is listed as an overspend as well as under-occupancy at Beacon Park and Minerva House leading to a below budget figure of £202,000.

Waveney Memorial Park and Crematorium at Ellough near Beccles was officially opened in May last year.

Its aim was to address a gap in service for 120,000 people, offering them a more accessible cremation service.