ADDITIONAL waiting area could be added at Taunton Deane Crematorium to cater for larger groups of mourners attending funerals there.

The £400,000 project at the facility off Wellington Road, Taunton, comes as more and more people are having to queue outside ahead of services.

It would also avoid mourners mingling with people attending other funerals.

The proposals, which include improved toilet facilities as well as doubling the size of the waiting area, are being discussed tomorrow (Thursday) by the executive at Taunton Deane Borough Council, which has been asked to put up a £360,000 loan, which the 'crem' would repay over a maximum of ten years.

In a report to councillors, Chris Hall, the Deane's assistant director for operational delivery, says: "This work is necessary to support the increased volume of people who attend services, and meet their needs in terms of accessible toilet facilities.

"The current waiting room does not have the same capacity as the chapel leading to frequent instances of the public having to wait outside all year around.

"It also leads to mourners from different services co-mingling. The new space will ensure mourners for the next service can wait together inside of the building.

"It also creates a greater number of accessible toilet facilities within the chapel complex."

The crematorium holds around 2,000 services a year and is unable to fully accommodate around half of them in the existing waiting room, leaving people outside whatever the weather.

Mr Hall adds: "This situation will only get worse unless appropriate action is taken as there is an increasing trend towards greater numbers of mourners at services."

There are fears that, without the improvements, people could book funerals elsewhere.

"The current waiting room is one of the first thinking spaces of the bereavement service, and providing the right environment is an essential part of the service that we offer," says Mr Hall.

"The current success of the service revolves around having the right environment in addition to the right employees - we need to build on this and accommodate the increasing needs of mourners.

"The space is used for families to compose themselves and meet with other mourners who they may not have seen for some years and have travelled some distance prior to the service commencing. There is no other location onsite for this to take place.

"The waiting room creates an area of comfort and reverence with a limited refreshment offering."