Bid to get Great Glen crematorium appeal heard in public

Sir Edward Garnier
Sir Edward Garnier

Harborough MP Sir Edward Garnier and a county councillor have demanded a public inquiry into Co-op’s plans for a crematorium at Great Glen.

Harborough District Council’s planningcommittee refused permission for the Co-op’s controversial plans for the crematorium, a cemetery and memorial gardens in a field next to a school in December.

More than 230 people sent in comments about the application, and more than 100 were in the public gallery at the planning meeting.

Despite the number of objections, the Co-operative Group has launched an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate to have the decision overturned.

The Co-op wants the appeal to be dealt with on paper but Sir Edward and Great Glen’s county councillor, Dr Kevin Feltham, insist the appeal should be by way of a full public inquiry at which residents can give oral evidence in person.

Cllr Feltham said: “Although the Co-op has requested the appeal be handled remotely by written statements, Sir Edward and I have both written to the Planning Inspectorate asking for a public inquiry.

“We are optimistic the inspector will realise the enormity of local concerns and decide to hold a public inquiry in the village later this year.

“We cannot afford to have a high-profile and hugely controversial planning application like this dealt with out of the public eye.

“We had hoped the Co-op would appreciate the clearly expressed antipathy in the village to building the crematorium next to Stoneygate School and withdraw or seek a less controversial location, but they seem to be intent on pressing on regardless with unchanged plans and to appeal out of the public gaze.”

Sir Edward added his support and said: “It’s the wrong project in the wrong place and now the Co-op want the appeal held far away in an office in Bristol with the Planning Inspector seeing no more than a few bits of paper.

“This appeal, if persisted with, must be dealt with in public and in Great Glen.”