Councillors approve crematorium extension despite opposition
PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 December 2015 | UPDATED: 12:37 17 December 2015
A LENGTHY fight from people living in Worle ended in disappointment as North Somerset Council approved plans to extend Weston’s crematorium.
The Weston-super-Mare crematorium, which is run by Dignity Funerals, is expected to run out of burial spaces within the next three years.
As a result Dignity applied to extend the Ebdon Road site by creating additional plots in a neighbouring field.
The plan encountered opposition from residents due to its use of Lyefield Road as a route for construction traffic. At the height of the construction period, Lyefield Road will face around 70 lorry movements each day.
North Somerset Council’s planning and regulatory committee agreed to defer making a decision on the application in January, as Dignity was told to explore a possible access route via private land off Ebdon Road.
North Worle councillor Marcia Pepperall asked for the application to be deferred again at the committee’s latest meeting.
She said: “They (Dignity) were asked to go away and talk to the landowners, they may have done a little bit of research but they certainly have not talked to the landowners.
“All they have done is get someone to look at the gate across the field and find some reasons why they can’t go that way (via the alternative route).”
Cllr Tom Leimdorfer said: “I am rather disappointed because I was expecting to see some detail as to why the other access route isn’t possible.
“Anyone with the idea that this will be anything other than a month of unacceptable misery to those people living in Lyefield Road is living in a magical world.”
The council’s deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees told the Mercury he understood residents’ frustrations but Dignity ‘wanted the application decided as it stood’.
He said: “It was clear that highways officers would not be able to defend the decision and the applicant would not only win an appeal, with likely costs against the council, and we might also lose some of the conditions we had put into the permission.”
The work is scheduled to begin next spring and completed late summer and a Dignity spokesman said the alternative route would have extended the project’s timescale and resulted in an unacceptable impact on mourners.
They added: “None of the statutory consultants or experts such as the Highways Authority, police or Environmental Health office had any objections to the proposal or access route.
“Unfortunately, there will be a temporary inconvenience to a small number of residents in Lyefield Road but on balance this is outweighed by the benefits to thousands of families.”