Rival crematorium plans for Huntingdon take new twist

Design proposal for the crematorium in Huntingdon

Design proposal for the crematorium in Huntingdon - Credit: Archant

Plans to bring a crematorium to Huntingdon are in disarray after Huntingdon Town Council’s plan was quashed in a High Court judicial review sought by funeral firm Dignity.

The town council’s plan for a crematorium, new cemetery and upgraded sports facilities at Jubilee Park was given a unanimous go-ahead by Huntingdonshire District Council’s development management committee just before Christmas - but at the same meeting Dignity’s bid for a crematorium and memorial gardens off nearby Sawtry Way, in Wyton, was thrown out on the grounds that it was unsustainable.

Both schemes had been recommended for approval by planners at the district council.

Now Dignity has resubmitted its original plan and in March it appealed against the committee’s decision, in addition to seeking the judicial review which halted the town council plan.

But Huntingdon town clerk Philip Peacock vowed that the council’s crematorium plan would still go-ahead

“The project is still going ahead. I am still waiting for a meeting with Huntingdonshire District Council, which I hope to have next week, to discuss our side of things,” he said.

The town council will also have to make a new application for its plan which is designed to be a source of income as well as providing the town with a new cemetery.

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It would also create upgraded sports facilities on land adjacent to Jubilee Park.

The district council said: “The planning application made by Dignity Limited at Sawtry Way, Wyton, seeks to respond to the reasons the previous application for a new crematorium was refused by the development management committee in December.

“Consultations on this new application are currently being undertaken and it will be considered by the district council’s development management committee in due course. The applicants have also lodged an appeal against the refusal of the original application and we are awaiting confirmation of the procedure and dates from the Planning Inspectorate.

“Huntingdon Town Council’s planning application for cemetery, crematorium and new sporting facilities at Jubilee Park was approved by the development management committee and the planning permission was issued on December 21, 2017. Dignity Funerals Ltd challenged this decision, bringing a claim for judicial review to the High Court and the decision was quashed on April 4.”

The statement said: “One of the actions required is that the applicants need to serve notice on all owners of the land. The application being quashed means that the application is put back in the hands of the district council for re-determination and, once the correct notices have been served, the application will need to be re-considered by the development management committee.”

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