ANGRY residents voiced their concerns over the controversial plan to build a crematorium on green belt land near the Waseley Hills.
It was their final chance to highlight the important issues surrounding H2Land’s application for the site off New Inns Lane.
Romsley Close resident John Flynn, who spoke at the appeal hearing at Bromsgrove Council House on Tuesday, said: “Since the planning permission for the cemetery was confirmed in 2012, no work has been done.
“The proposed car park would come extremely close to my back garden.”
The developers are currently trying to get Bromsgrove District Council’s refusal for a crematorium overturned, despite having it thrown out numerous times before.
Permission had previously been granted for a cemetery, chapel and maintenance building but residents said roads were not suitable to accommodate the crematorium.
They also questioned the need for it as other crematoriums nearby were ‘not running to their full capacity’.
This was backed up by bereavement services manager Michael Birkinshaw who oversees Redditch Crematorium.
Mr Birkinshaw said there were no concerns about his capacity as it was ‘way under every month’
Chris Hughes, a director of H2Land, stated that there were unacceptable delays at local crematoriums including Redditch, especially at peak times.
He said recent case laws supported the need for a new crematorium and felt Mr Birkinshaw had a vested interest in painting a ‘rosy picture’ of the Redditch service.
Frankley resident Bill Murray said: “For me this is all about the developers realising their mistake of including just the cemetery in the original application.
“They realised to have a more profitable operation they would need to introduce the crematorium too.
“But it will increase traffic flow in the area and impact on the emergency services which need to pass by.
“Not only that but it also will have negative effects on air quality, the environment and ultimately children’s health.”
H2Land planning consultant, Neil Pearce claimed many of the concerns were unfounded.
“I appreciate that things like air pollution is a worry.
“But I can assure residents there are key statutory environmental frameworks and bodies which monitor and regulate all crematoriums in the area.
“Licences are also only granted by Worcester Regulatory Services if the right protocols are in place – and they have not said anything bad about our application.”
This was confirmed by Bromsgrove District Council’s principal planning officer Anthony Young.
Bromsgrove District Councillor for Rubery Peter McDonald added: “I believe the developer applied for the cemetery back in 2012 knowing they would apply for the crematorium once they had secured the first planning application. Looks like ‘planning by stealth’ to me.”
Birmingham City Councillor for Frankley Simon Morall voiced his own concerns.
“I find it outrageous this is even allowed to happen. Is it now normal for governments to override the will of the people? What does this say about our democracy?”
The decision by Planning Inspector Zoey Raygen, who visited the site after the hearing, is expected in around four weeks time.
H2Land directors Mark Donald added: “We are satisfied that the case has been heard and our evidence is before the inspector and we look forward to her determination.”