A RUBERY resident has criticised Bromsgrove District Council, claiming the authority failed to send out letters informing people plans had been submitted to build a crematorium nearby.
The woman, who did want to be named, contacted The Standard about proposals to build a cemetery with crematorium and maintenance building on land off New Inns Lane, near the Waseley Hills.
She said those who were informed by post when the initial proposal was put in two years ago were not given similar letters this time around and she said when she contacted the council she had been told there had been an ‘administrative error’ and that they would send the letters out.
“It’s worrying that if I – a resident – had not contacted the planning department to point out the issue, then these letters would never have been sent.”
And she said now there needed to be a 21-day consultation period after that and with the application due to be heard by the planning committee on October 27, it did not give residents much time.
She said: “It seems to be being treated as a minor application and it probably is in planning terms.
“But for the people who live in the area it is a massive change.
“There’s the possibility of increased traffic, air pollution from the cremations, general environmental impact in the area and the fact the site could operate at weekends and on bank holidays.
“The Waseley Hills are supposed to be a tourist destination and I don’t know any other tourist destinations with a crematorium so close.”
A Bromsgrove District Council spokesperson said when the present application was first received it was advertised in a local newspaper and a site notice was posted near the application site.
“Some residents have said they were not aware of the application so individual letters have now been sent to local residents notifying them of the application.
“There is sufficient time for comments to be taken into account before the application is determined by planning committee.”
Chris Hughes, spokesperson for H2Land which has put the application forward, said suitable operating times would be imposed by the planning authority in line with similar venues elsewhere and added cremation was now very different to how people perceived it.
“New guidelines, recently introduced by the Government, mean crematoriums must now meet much higher performance levels in order to obtain a licence to operate.
“This includes high technology ‘abatement’ equipment, ‘scrubbing’ the output gases clean of pollutants and these techniques maintain the quality of the environment locally.
“Our proposals include the latest technology, ensuring that there is no disturbance to the local population.”
He added it was likely the cemetery and scattering gardens would be open to families to visit and pay their respects at weekends, as would be expected, but said it was unusual for funeral services themselves to be undertaken outside of weekday business hours.
With regard to the traffic, he said the site was on a well established A road with good transport links including a bus service terminus and claimed independent traffic surveys had shown any future increase in traffic would be under one per cent of current traffic volumes.
Anyone wanting to have their say can go to the planning section of the Bromsgrove District Council website – www.bromsgrove.gov.uk – and search for the application number 14/0575.