Council agrees grounds for refusal as appeal date for crematorium plan looms

Artist's impression of crematorium at Lodge Farm, in Broughton

Artist's impression of crematorium at Lodge Farm, in Broughton - Credit: Archant

Councillors have set out their reasons for refusing plans for a new crematorium in Wyton ahead of an inquiry into the application by the Planning Inspectorate.

Plans for a new crematorium and memorial gardens on 11 acres of land in Sawtry Way were thrown out by Huntingdonshire District Council’s development management committee in December last year.

However, the applicant, Dignity Funerals, submitted an appeal against the decision to the Planning Inspectorate.

The company said it wanted to build in the area because of what it said were capacity issues at other crematoriums in the county and the increasing lack of cemetery space in churchyards.

The firm added that the earmarked land had been chosen due to its remote location, as it is about 200 yards away from the nearest dwelling – as required by law.

However, councillors believe the development is unsustainable and, at a meeting of the development panel on November 19, agreed the grounds upon which their submissions to the Planning Inspectorate would be based.

The council will argue that “the proposed development, by virtue of its countryside location away from a main settlement and the lack of alternatives to access the site other than by private car is not considered to constitute a sustainable form of development”.

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Councillors also agreed that the proposed development of the site would have a “detrimental impact on the intrinsic character and beauty of the site and surrounding area”.

The council will defend its decision to refuse at an inquiry due to start next Wednesday (December 5).

Following the refusal of its original plans, Dignity subsequently resubmitted its plans and, in March, it appealed against the committee’s decision to refuse its original application.

The second application was considered by the committee at meetings in July and September but it was deferred at both meetings to allow Dignity to undertake and provide further traffic data.

In its second plan, Dignity, the largest operator of crematoria, with 45 in the UK, said it “strongly rejected” allegations that the site was not sustainable and that its benefits would outweigh any conflict with the area’s development plan.