Calls for a public inquiry as crematorium plans resurface

Cllr Kevin Feltham
Cllr Kevin Feltham

Campaigners fighting plans for a crematorium at Great Glen have called for a full public inquiry after the group behind the scheme said it would be appealing against the refusal of planning permission.

The Co-operative Group has announced it intends to appeal Harborough District Council’s decision to throw out the proposals for a woodland burial site, cemetery and crematorium on land south of Great Glen village.

And if the appeal goes ahead, those fighting the plans are calling for the inquiry to be held in public to allow residents the opportunity to make comments in person to the Government inspector.

Some planning inquiries are carried out using only written submissions from interested parties.

Campaigner and county councillor for Great Glen, Cllr Kevin Feltham, said: “Once I have had a chance to see the appeal – the reasons, plus the appeal number – I will be in touch with people in Great Glen to inform them of the details.

“I am keen to request of the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol that this appeal is not treated as a written statements option, but instead be a full public inquiry with members of the public able to make their comments directly to the inspector.”

Residents cheered and applauded at a district council planning meeting last month when the proposals were thrown out. They had raised concerns over traffic, emissions from the incinerator which would have been housed in the crematorium, the look of the building, and the potential emotional impact on pupils at nearby Stoneygate School.

Cllr Feltham added: “The strength of feeling is considerable, not only from the school.

“The public inquiry option might delay the final decision, but would ensure people have a chance to make their points at a local venue rather than a decision being taken in Bristol without the inspector realising the strength of feelings.”

A spokesman for The Co-operative Group last week confirmed its intentions to appeal, saying that the development responds to Harborough Council’s Local Plan identifying the need for burial sites in the district.

They added: “It is our continued belief that this is the right site for a modern, sustainable burial and crematorium facility, and that its construction would be enormously beneficial to the residents throughout south Leicestershire.”