A campaign group has been set up to oppose an ‘outrageous proposal’ for a crematorium which residents say will pollute their rural village.
A ‘no-crematorium’ petition has received 152 signatures in less than four weeks after it was set up by a resident who does not want to see a second application for a local crematorium approved.
David Tidey, the campaign group creator, has lived in West Grinstead for 63 years and says there is ‘absolutely no need’ for the crematorium.
“Both the local crematoriums at Findon and Worth are running well under capacity.
“It will be overlooked by three houses. The recommended distance for residential buildings is at least 200 yards. One house is only 205 yards from the site.
“That’s not the sort of thing anybody would want to overlook. You wouldn’t want to sit in your garden and overlook a funeral.”
The campaign website is proving popular and more than 60 people have written letters of objection to HDC.
Mr Tidey said he could see little reason why the application should be allowed.
“The only thing they’ve changed is the fact they have taken a manager’s house off the application.
“One of their arguments is that there’s a growing population in the South East but the rate of death in Sussex is more or less static.”
The subject was due to be discussed at a meeting of the West Grinstead Parish Council last night (Wednesday July 4) and the council expected many residents would attend.
Helen Tinner, a member of the campaign group who lives in Findon, said she has ‘extreme concern regarding the outrageous proposal to build a crematorium in the wonderful surroundings of the Sussex countryside’.
“I am one of many who love our countryside and cannot stand by to see it slowly being eroded,” she said. “The thought of breathing in poisonous fumes whilst out enjoying fresh air is appalling.”
Phil Rose, another campaigner who lives next to the proposed site in Kennel Lane, said: “I will have my property valued now. If the crematorium is given the go-ahead and it devalues my home then I will expect compensation.”
The application for a crematorium facility on the A272 within a parkland setting, including a grounds maintenance, secure equipment store and 63 car parking spaces was refused by HDC in September 2011.
Proposals include an upgraded access onto A272 to be shared with the existing restaurant which adjoins the site.
The current application differs from the original application determined in 2011 in that the manager’s lodge house has been removed.
Reasons given by HDC for refusing the first application in 2011 were that an overriding need had not been established and the extraction of minerals or the disposal of waste, did not provide quiet, informal recreation or ensure the sustainable development of rural areas.
HDC also said that it made no provision towards mitigation measures to offset any increase in local pollutant emissions within the Air Quality Management Area of Cowfold.
A spokesperson for the applicant, Peacebound Ltd, said: “Our highways consultant has designed the proposed access arrangements to ensure highways safety is maintained at all times.
“The building will be very well screened from all vantage points into the site and will not be openly visible.
“It is a much-needed alternative to current provision offering local families a tranquil, secluded and comforting location.
“There will be increased employment opportunities for local residents, tradesmen and contractors on a permanent basis when operational, and for many local tradesmen during the build period.
“The building takes up a small part of the whole site in the north-west corner, the rest of the site would be remain well managed woodland.”
For more information about the campaign visit www.no-crematorium.org