Decision time for Chatteris ‘crem’

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PLANS for a second Fenland crematorium are set to be refused despite evidence the area needs another one.

An application by Memoria Ltd to build a crematorium on agricultural land off Fenton Way at Chatteris, is set to be discussed by Fenland’s planning committee today (Wednesday).

Officers are recommending the proposal for refusal despite strong support from Chatteris Town Council for the proposal.

Memoria has been trying to get permission to build the crematorium since 2009 but have faced various opposition and setbacks.

Among those opposing the plan is rival crematorium provider Dignity, which owns the recently opened Fenland Crematorium at March.

Dignity questions the need for a second facility in the district.

However, six local funeral directors have given their backing saying a crematorium at Chatteris would prove helpful to mourners as it would enable them to attend both a church and cremation service.

They also say a facility at Chatteris would only marginally impact on the March facility as it is not considered satisfactory for the majority of the catchment area they serve.

A local minister also supports the plans.

But there have been nine letters of objection from local residents and businesses raising concerns about the impact on traffic on the A142 and also about the siting of a crematorium on a largely industrial area.

Officers are also concerned as the land has been earmarked for industrial and business development.

A letter from Shakespeare Putsman, solicitors for the applicant, states there is proof that a second crematorium is needed even taking into account the existence of the March one.

However, at the end of a lengthy report outlining all the various stages this application has been through in the past two years the officer’s recommendation is to refuse.

The report states: “Despite evidence of a need for the proposed crematorium it remains officer opinion that the site selected is unacceptable by virtue of its relationship with existing industrial units and the likely prejudicial impact that the scheme would have on the remaining primary business and industrial allocation being delivered. It would not therefore comply with adopted planning policy at local or national level.”