Double crematorium plan for Huntingdon back before planners

Artist's impression of crematorium and cemetery proposal at Jubliee Park, in Huntingdon

Artist's impression of crematorium and cemetery proposal at Jubliee Park, in Huntingdon - Credit: Archant

A battle has resumed over who will provide a new crematorium for Huntingdon.

National firm Dignity UK Ltd was first out of the blocks with a revival of its plan to build a crematorium at Wyton Piggery Cottage, near RAF Wyton, which was rejected by Huntingdonshire District Council’s development management committee last December on the grounds that it was unsustainable.

Now Huntingdon Town Council has submitted a new planning application for a modified version of its scheme to bring a crematorium and cemetery to land near Jubilee Park.

The town council’s original plan, on a slightly different site, was unanimously approved by the development management committee at the same meeting where the Dignity scheme was thrown out.

But Dignity, which appealed against the refusal, also sought a judicial review at the High Court which quashed the town council’s plan.

Dignity’s resubmitted plan was considered by the district council’s development management committee - where it was being recommended for approval by planners - on Monday night but councillors agreed to defer making a decision after hearing that the firm, which has 46 crematoria, would agree to carry out a further traffic survey, including comparisons with its nearby Fenland site.

Paul Bassitt, vice-chairman of Kings Ripton Parish Council, said Dignity had not held any consultations with the village about the impact of the scheme and that a traffic survey had not been done on the hazardous road outside the proposed site.

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He said there was no burial area at the proposed crematorium and there was no public transport for users.

Ward member Cllr Simon Bywater said the plan failed to address the problem of building in the countryside, had no public transport and would have a detrimental impact.

“Thew public view is that it is not wanted or needed,” he said.

Patrick Downes, Dignity’s agent, said the site needed outside built up areas and that the firm’s experience was that most visitors would be travelling as part of a cortege.

He agreed that the firm would carry out a further traffic survey after Cllr Jason Ablewhite said this was a key issue and then asked for the decision to be deferred until this was carried out.

Huntingdon Town Council’s revised plan, which has just gone before the council, involves moving the crematorium and cemetery across Jubilee Park and the suspension of a scheme to enhance sports facilities there.

Town clerk Philip Peacock said there would have been a requirement to replace pitches lost to the original scheme first, leading to a two year delay when the town was in need of extra cemetery space.

He said their plan included a cemetery on site and a multi-faith chapel.

Mr Peacock said they would address the proposed sports village after the scheme was built.