Council refuse crematorium plans

JPCT 10-07-12 S12271347X Proposed crematorium site. West Grinstead. -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 10-07-12 S12271347X Proposed crematorium site. West Grinstead. -photo by Steve Cobb

Residents broke into applause and sighs of relief as an application for a crematorium on Cowfold Road was refused by Horsham district planners.

A dozen residents who live near the proposed site off the A272 in West Grinstead attended the development meeting on Tuesday (December 17) to learn the outcome.

The crematorium application submitted by Peaceland Ltd included a parkland setting, equipment store and 63 car parking spaces, located just off the single carriageway by Barnham crossroads.

Resident Helen Tinner said that 161 letters of objections sent to the council represents almost everyone living in close proximity to the proposed site.

“Lives are being ruined. A home should be a place to relax, instead neighbours will be reminded of death on a daily basis. There’s not a current need and this is not the right location.”

Manager of Freeman Brothers Funeral Directors, Abi Pattenden said: “We do not support this uneeded development in a flawed location.”

Ms Pattenden added that Horsham is ‘not a special case’ and claimed that statistics show there will only be a slight increase in the demand for funeral services in the next 15 years.

The application was first submitted by Peacebound Ltd in October 2011 but was refused by the council.

On Tuesday, applicant Mr P. Gallagher said: “I believe I’m an expert in my field and I do have the interest of the bereaved at heart.

“It’s been over 40 years since the last crematorium was built in West Sussex.”

Mr Gallagher also said that the objections from local residents were ‘unfounded’ and that there will be ‘no smoke or smell’ emanating from the site.

Ian Turner, a supporter of the application, said he has lived in Horsham since 1966 and has had to travel 45 minutes to Worth each time to attend a family member’s funeral.

“I would take full advantage of this and look to the future,” Mr Turner said.

Committee chairman David Jenkins (Con: Chanctonbury) said the A272 is used as a rural road and claimed the proposed site’s access point onto said road would be a ‘recipe for disaster’.

He added that the plans should also include more than one plot for the spreading of ashes.

“We have an aging population, we don’t thankfully have a dying population,” said Mr Jenkins.

The application was refused due to location and not being in keeping with the area.