CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a crematorium on green belt land were unanimously thrown out by Bromsgrove District Council planners on Monday (September 5).
The proposals for the area near Waseley Hills Country Park by H2Land have been the cause of much contention since the plans were submitted and rejected in 2014. Previously, plans were approved for a cemetery on the site.
At the meeting, the public gallery was packed with protestors to the plans which were rejected for the same reasons it had been turned down previously.
Local resident William Murrey spoke about the potential impact of carcinogenic materials on the respiratory health of people living nearby.
“Therefore we have a responsibility to protect the Green Belt, not only for Bromsgrove residents but for Birmingham residents as well.”
Sarah Smith added: “The applicant keeps stating unmet need – we already have two crematoriums serving our area, one in Redditch which is 13 minutes away and one in Lodge hill which is 20 minutes away – both well within the quoted necessary 30-minute radius stated in plan.
“I have contacted them and one is running at only 69 per cent capacity and the other at 58.”
In its proposal, the developer stated buildings had been located to avoid impact on mature trees by ensuring there was no pressure from future phasing.
But Andrew Robson said: “This has already failed since mature trees have already been felled and burned.”
The stream of outspoken residents also included Roger Goode who highlighted the impact of the industrial process on green belt land and the project’s encroachment onto the ‘green gap’.
Residents mentioned the impact of increased traffic on the local area, including on the risk to the lives of young children who frequent local schools, football clubs, play areas and Waseley Country Park.
Coun Peter McDonald said: “It’s about the destruction of a landscape protection area green belt on the slopes of Waseley Hills which adjoins a site of special scientific interest.”
Coun McDonald said there was ‘no mention’ of this detail in the developer’s report, making it a ‘serious omission.’
He also pointed out the developer’s own admission that the ‘development represented inappropriate development in the green belt’.
He added recent analysis also showed traffic flow to the area had increased by 30 per cent since the previous application was refused, rising from 0.6 to 0.9 per cent.
Councillors Baxter, Spencer, May and Whittaker and Hotham also questioned the project’s feasibility.