An appeal to central government to overturn a decision to refuse planning permission for a crematorium in the Waseley Hills has been dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate.
Cemetery & chapel approval
Planning permission was granted for a cemetery on the green belt site in New Inns Lane, Rubery in 2012.
In 2014, planning permission to add a chapel and maintenance building was given.
“Adverse effect” on Green Belt
However at the same time – after much objection was expressed by local residents and politicians – Bromsgrove District Council refused permission to include facilities for cremation, citing an inappropriate, industrial use of green belt land and increased traffic to the site, amongst other issues.
Developers amended their plans to alter the chapel and maintenance building to include crematorium facilities in 2016.
Despite some changes being made to reduce the volume of the previously approved buildings, reduce the size of the car park and lessen the industrial appearance by redesigning the crematorium flue, the plans were again met with strong objection from many local residents and politicians.
Rubery councillor Peter MacDonald (Labour) told the Bromsgrove Standard that the council shouldn’t even be considering the application, after throwing out proposals back in 2014.
Cllr Andy Cartwright (Longbridge, Labour) & colleague Cllr Carole Griffiths opposed the application again, saying that a crematorium would have an adverse affect on traffic in Longbridge ward.
Independent Longbridge Cllr Ian Cruise also submitted written objection.
Over 100 residents comments were submitted in response to the plans. Hundreds voted in a B31 Voices poll, with just 30% in favour of the proposals.
Refusal & Appeal
The plans were unanimously turned down by the planning committee at a meeting on Monday 5th September 2016.
However, in a final attempt to bring a crematorium to Rubery, developers submitted an appeal to the Governments Planning Inspectorate in an attempt to have the council’s decision overturned by the Secretary of State.
On 2nd August, having fully considered all the submitted information, government planning inspector R. C. Kirby concluded that the appeal should be dismissed on the grounds that the proposal to add a crematorium on the site:
- “[…] is inappropriate development in the Green Belt which is by definition harmful”
- “[…] would reduce the openness of the Green Belt, result in conflict with the purposes of including land within it, and adversely affect the character and appearance of the area”
- did not present enough evidence to determine the possible risks to the biodiversity of the site.