Developers of the planned Waseley Hills Cemetery have submitted plans to Bromsgrove District Council in a third attempt to get permission for a crematorium at the Rubery green belt site – despite having had a previous appeal quashed by the government’s Planning Inspectorate.
Application history: a timeline
Planning permission was granted for a cemetery on the edge of the Waseley Hills Country Park in Rubery in 2012.
Further planning permission was given in 2014 for a chapel and maintenance building on the site, at New Inns Lane, close to the junction with Boleyn Road, Frankley (Planning Application 14/0575).
At the same time, after much objection from 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.
The council at that time said: “the proposed crematorium flue and associated comings and goings associated with the crematorium and the industrial process of cremations would have an adverse impact upon the visual qualities of the Green Belt and the designated Landscape Protection Area.”
Developers amended and resubmitted their plans to alter the chapel and maintenance building to include crematorium facilities in 2016.
Hundreds voted in a B31 Voices poll on the 2016 plan, with almost 65% of readers opposed to the proposals.
The plans were unanimously turned down by the planning committee in September 2016.
Appeal to central government
In an attempt to have the decision overturned by the Secretary of State, in March 2017 developers submitted the plans to the Governments Planning Inspectorate for consideration.
On 2nd August 2017, 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.
However, developers are not yet ready to admit defeat and, in a third application, have outlined to the District Council why they believe the crematorium is needed and should be approved.
The application includes a reduction in the scale of the building and surrounding hardstanding and reduced operating times.
Cllr Carole Griffiths (Longbridge, Labour) said: “I am in continuous contact with residents –who for many years have stated they are against this – and their feelings have not changed. Together we hope Bromsgrove planning committee listen to residents and put closure to this subject.”
Have your say
To view all of the documents submitted with the application – including reports and plans – and submit your views, visit the Bromsgrove District Council website Search application Reference: 17/01429/FUL before 25th January 2018.
An officer from Birmingham City Council’s planning department has also been invited to attend the next Longbridge Ward Forum meeting. All welcome at 7pm on Tuesday 23rd January at Longbridge Methodist Church (opposite McDonald’s, Bristol Road South).
A decision is expected to be made by Tuesday 13th March 2018.