MOURNERS at York Crematorium may be able to gather in a large new waiting room if plans get the green light.

City of York Council - which runs the facility at Bishopthorpe - is seeking permission to build a second and larger waiting room.

In its application to planners, the current waiting facilities - which can only accommodate up to 20 people - are described as "inadequate".

The new waiting room - which will include a covered terrace - will be seven times bigger, potentially allowing gatherings of up to 140 people for a single funeral. The new room would also have toilets.

In a statement to planners,Williams Architects, on behalf of the council, says the new waiting room will provide "a much needed additional space".

The Crematorium, which was first opened in 1962, sits in green belt land within the Bishopthorpe Conservation Area. The new build would require the removal of one cherry tree.

The planning statement says: "We believe that this proposal does not harm the character of the Green Belt nor will it affect the special character of York.

"The main driver for this application is the need to improve the provision for waiting space at York Crematorium. The existing provision for those waiting before funeral services is inadequate."

Back in 2019, The Press reported how the council was setting aside £250,000 in its capital budget plans for a new waiting room.

At the time, York funeral director Hayley Owen welcomed the news and said: "A waiting room would be a great help. You can get big funerals with a lot of people and not everybody knows where they are going, I see families panicking about where to go.”

The current waiting room has a floor area of 24sq.m, whereas the new one would be 168.5m2, including the covered terrace area.

The planning statement reads: "The current waiting room has a floor area of approximately 24sq.m which would not be adequate space for more than 16 people, based on allowing 1.5m2 per person, and 20 people as a maximum."

It goes on to state: "The new building would provide adequate space for families and other mourners allowing some privacy and dignity in their grief.

"It would mitigate for the situation where mourners are waiting or queueing outside while those attending previous services, or the next services, are departing and arriving.

A funeral is already a highly emotional and stressful time and this additional space will be a considerable improvement."

It states that the new waiting room would provide more flexibility: "Different faiths, no faith groups and different cultures have different needs and different circumstances call for options to provide the space required. The proposed waiting space will give that flexibility to help provide for most needs.

York Press: Site of the proposed new waiting room at York CrematoriumSite of the proposed new waiting room at York Crematorium

"Facilities for larger waiting spaces are in demand. For some faith groups, and where the funeral is for a young person or is well known to the community, this provision would help to meet that demand locally."

The new building would be single storey with a covered terrace area and the external walls would be finished with timber cladding. Large glazed elements would allow light into the building. The covered and protected terrace would allow those who would prefer to wait outside to do so and be protected from the elements.

To read the full planning application (ref: 22/00744/GRG3) visit: