Planning application submitted for new ecological crematorium
- Credit: LIB DEMS
The application will now go through the planning process which includes documents being validated.
The application will then go live East Cambridgeshire District Council website.
The crematorium is proposed on land which previously was used by Mepal Outdoor Centre.
Following the closure of the centre in December 2016, the site was subject to multiple arson and vandalism incidents.
However, parts of the site have since become home to wildlife and biodiversity.
This natural transformation, say East Cambs Council, means that its future use must respect and enhance the evolved ecological needs of the site.
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The submission of the planning application follows a public survey which was undertaken at the start of 2021, inviting residents’ thoughts about the proposed plans.
As part of the planning application, a formal consultation process will now take place.
The application includes a main chapel, a small side chapel and an electric cremator emitting significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than other crematoria in the East of England.
It also includes natural burial plots, a modular function building for the natural burial aspect and a pet cemetery located away from the other facilities and one acre of new planting including 57 new trees and 40 fruit trees.
Councillor Anna Bailey, Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Firstly I would like to thank residents for taking part in our survey on the proposals.
"We made a commitment to engage with communities on our proposals and we are now moving to the next step of consultation, through the planning application process.
“As well as providing a facility for residents that currently doesn’t exist in the district, we have been working to ensure that the proposal reflects our environmental vision for the district.
“This not only includes protecting the ecology that has flourished over the past four years but creating a proposal which is an exemplar sustainable development.
"It gives back to the site through additional planting and ongoing sensitive management to enrich the area.
“We are also making good on our promise to deliver the maximum level of public access for recreational use of the site, which, as advised by The Wildlife Trust need to be low impact in order to respect and protect the wildlife and biodiversity that is flourishing there.
"I am pleased that the site will be available for dog walking, bird watching and fishing.”
The proposed crematorium, which will be confined to the existing footprint of buildings on the site, and other associated uses are not anticipated to result in any significant adverse residual effects to identified ecological assets.
Monitoring is currently proposed to be in place for five years to assess ongoing impacts from the use of the site.
Residents will be able to view the application on the council’s website as soon as the application has gone through due process and is deemed to be valid.
All the documents that support the application will be available including all ecological reports, the statement about compliance with planning policy, the results of the public consultation to date.
In January when the public consultation was announced, opposition leader Lib Dem councillor Lorna Dupre described it as the “last chance” to comment on the controversial application.
"The survey seeks views on a number of aspects of the proposal,” she said.
“But there is no option for residents to indicate if they would prefer to retain and restore the outdoor centre.
“You can however make additional comments in the last question on the survey.
“If you don’t agree with the Mepal Outdoor Centre site being re-developed as a crematorium you could use that question to express your views.”
She added: “Despite its shortcomings, the public consultation
survey is the only opportunity local residents currently have to express their views.
“Do take a few minutes to submit your thoughts.”