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17th Jun, 2021

Work starts on the controversial Waseley Hills Crematorium and Cemetery in Rubery

Tristan Harris 4th Jun, 2021 Updated: 4th Jun, 2021

WORK has started on a new multi-million pound crematorium and cemetery at the Waseley Hills.

The facility off New Inns Lane will be operated by Westerleigh Group which, with 35 sites in England, Scotland and Wales, is the UK’s largest independent owner-operator of crematoria and cemeteries.

The company says the Waseley Hills Crematorium and Cemetery will deliver much-needed additional crematoria capacity and provide families with the choice of having access to high quality facilities and the highest quality service, all set within a beautiful and tranquil memorial park.

The crematorium is shaped as two interlocking ellipsis and constructed from a steel frame, with masonry and timber cladding and completed with a green roof.

The project is due for completion later this year, with the first services taking place in early 2022.

Adrian Barnes, regional director for Stepnell which is carrying out the work, said: “We’re delighted to have started work on site for this project, which will bring additional crematorium capacity to the area.

“We have worked closely with the team at the Westerleigh Group to develop a programme of work that meets the client’s requirements, as well as doing justice to the unique design.”

The crematorium’s dual elongated oval shape – complete with an ellipsis roof – will utilise significant amounts of natural light, space and materials to bring a sense of calm to the building, supporting grieving families in the most difficult of circumstances.

Bill Scott, regional manager at Westerleigh Group, said he was excited with the development of the firm’s latest crematorium.

“We pride ourselves on providing exceptional care in beautiful settings, so families can remember, mourn and celebrate the lives of their loved ones in a way that is uniquely personal.

“We also enjoy a positive reputation for forging strong links with the communities around all our sites, and we are looking forward to becoming part of the community in and around South Birmingham and Bromsgrove, while providing them with the highest standards of care, support and service.”

The application was contested all the way through the planning process by residents who said it was not needed as others, such as Lodge Hill and Redditch, were not up to capacity.

They feared the development would increase traffic, have a negative effect on the openness of the green belt and cause disruption near and on New Inns Lane, in Rubery.

Permission had previously been granted for a cemetery, chapel and maintenance building but residents said surrounding roads were not suitable to accommodate the crematorium.

Previous planning applications submitted by H2Land to seek permission to undertake cremations on the site, were all refused by Bromsgrove District Council.

The 2016 appeal was dismissed because the planning inspector at the time, felt ‘very special circumstances’ were required to allow development on the green belt land – which at the time he said had ‘not yet been demonstrated’.

But the Planning Inspector for the next appeal said ‘a compelling need that had been demonstrated for a new crematorium’ which ‘outweighed the damage to the green belt’.

It was approved on July 2, 2019, and shortly after the site was put up for sale by H2Land and it was mooted up to 350 homes could be built there instead.

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