Crematorium ruled out as wrongly sited

Concerns over a relatively inaccessible location and detrimental impacts on countryside character have led an inspector to dismiss plans for a crematorium on the edge of a Lincolnshire village.

The appellant’s case rested in part on the need for the facility, given overtrading at an existing crematorium in Lincoln and the absence of a facility serving Newark and the Sleaford area. The council argued that the Lincoln facility did not experience undue delays or was qualitatively deficient. The inspector found that it had few slots available for services at peak times, remarking that delays of 14 days or more to perform cremations are injurious to the bereaved. However, he also noted that a second chapel had been consented in Lincoln and this would serve a large catchment area, meeting needs up to and possibly beyond 2040.

The council had identified what it saw as more suitable sites between Newark and Sleaford which, it claimed, would better meet the identified need. The inspector agreed that the appellants had not provided detailed evidence to rule them out. In terms of meeting Newark’s needs, he found that the appeal site only just fell within the maximum 30-minute drive time assumed for funeral corteges, making it only marginally more accessible than other existing crematoria in the wider area around the town.

He was also concerned that the appeal site, which lay on a country road with no footways or lighting, would not be easily accessible by public transport. While recognising that many visitors would travel by car, he was not convinced that a rural location was required. The proposed crematorium would urbanise a field and would appear as a detached and conspicuous development within an expansive open landscape, he judged.

In dismissing the appeal, the inspector refused to make an award of costs to the council, which claimed that the appellants had introduced late technical evidence which could have been agreed in the statement of common ground. He held that the submissions in question represented a reasonable attempt to narrow issues relating to catchment areas, population and need.

Inspector: Kevin Savage; Hearing

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