Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, and the surrounding villages are all reasons that the following planning application for a new crematorium is being placed in a neighbouring area.
Users of the A272 already know how clogged this can be around the South Road / Muster Green area and those who travel west will understand Cowfold has a worse problem, as in addition to traffic it is causing air quality issues. The proposal for a new crematorium at West Grinstead (just west of Cowfold) will only see this increase the traffic in both areas.
It is most likely that the crematorium application will be heard by the full planning committee late November, making it very timely for a reminder of the reasons why there is so much local objection to the facility :-
1) Need – The application states that with a growing population there is a need for more cremations. The truth of the matter is that the growing population is exactly that, and that people are living longer, much of the new housing in and around the area, that is either being built or proposed is not for the elder generations, who are living longer, but for younger generations, or indeed bigger homes for families. This is primarily as people are residing longer in their own properties. The death rates reported by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reinforce this matter.
2) Need again – The location is seen by the applicant as being more convenient, and meeting the additional demand. We know that in a letter of support from Burgess Hill they cite having to go to Brighton, but if you do the sums, the Brighton facility is closer than the proposed facility, and has better road links. We are also very clear that the facilities at Worthing, Brighton, and Crawley are all under capacity.
3) Transport and Highways – This has been a more contentious point, originally West Sussex County Council just ticked this as being OK, however an independently-commissioned report (available on the Horsham District Council website) highlights numerous breaches of safety regulations. The A272 has much greater throughput than a normal road classified the same, and is the only East to West Link the Weald has. It is also on a route serviced by one bus a week, when actually crematoriums are supposed to have good public access. Further this month yet again we have seen the road closed for multiple hours because of another accident within 100 yards of the proposed venture. Unlike other facilities this is serviced by a single road, not multiple routes to the location.
4) Legality – There is permitted development for local residents within the 200 yard curfew that is required by law as an exclusion zone from such facilities. I understand the planners do not consider this in their deliberation, but the potential to pass something that may not be legal seems to me to be fraught with future contention, and challenge from local residents.
5) Location- This is a rural setting and, if permitted, would be the largest commercial building in the area, it would be located right by the South Downs Link, and is most certainly out of keeping with the many listed buildings, agricultural surroundings, and peaceful leisure-time pursuits undertaken.
6) Suitability of the site – The proposal has been squeezed into the site, it has no room for the leaving of ashes, which really goes against the whole principle of a crematorium. The sites of Findon and Worth both have room for expansion if needed, there is no expansion room at West Grinstead. The guide for crematoria suggest that expansion is normally a better option than new.
7) Environmental – The Co2 generated by this will be in excess of that for most crematoria.
8) Professional Opinion – The community of West Grinstead have worked together to commission two reports, one on planning, and the other on highways, both are lodged with the council and raise serious concerns.
As you can see there are plenty of reasons not to justify its presence, especially when elsewhere in the south, new crematoria have been successfully proposed with only the minimal of objections raised.
It is also worth pointing out that the resubmission of the Eco-Lodge plans for the same site, by the same individuals has been made.
I would encourage all your readers to lodge their objection to the crematorium at http://no-crematorium.org/ and better still the HDC planning site.
Colin M Wilson,