Holiday in a cemetery?
THE reduced amount of money flowing, or should that be dripping, into the coffers of local councils is prompting a radical rethink on how they can generate more cash to secure the valuable services they provide.
The squeeze on Eden Council’s budget has, for instance, resulted in a potential plan for the disused chapel at Penrith cemetery to be turned into holiday accommodation.
The notion of holidaymakers taking a break in a graveyard setting is certainly a novel one, and maybe a step too far for some. But the principle behind the proposal — turning a drain on council resources into an income-generating asset — is financially sound.
It is the council’s intention to invest any return from the holiday lets into its tourism service, which would bring in benefits to the wider district.
It has been suggested, however, that a better use of the property may be as homes for local families. But the quirky nature of its setting again might deter prospective tenants.
Given the unusual nature of the property and the proposals for its future, the council needs to investigate thoroughly whether the newly renovated chapel would be attractive to tourists and/or prospective tenants before it invests large amounts of public money.
These are challenging times for the public sector in particular, meaning that councils have to come up with new ways of making and saving cash.
This suggestion is certainly unusual, and its merits will begin to be debated when a report prepared by officers comes before councillors early in the new year.