THERE was debate in 2013 about whether North East Wales needs a crematorium with proposals for facilities in Denbighshire and Flintshire.
To the left of the planned crematorium and remembrance garden in Glascoed Road, St Asaph, lies a business park, in front is an open green field and to the right, a sign defiantly states “No To Denbighshire Crematorium”, writes Alex Watt who visited the proposed site to find out more about the issue which will be considered in 2014.
Showing me the site, Martin Barlow, chairman of Cefn Meiriadog and Glascoed Road Residents and Users Group, said: "This community, Cefn Meiriedog, feels like it’s under siege at the moment. The crematorium is like the last straw.”
He added: “It’s going to be very detrimental to the countryside, to the landscape, to the community, to the business park, to the school, there is very poor public transport access to it, and it’s just not justified in terms of the need.
“It’s in the wrong place in the sense that it’s in an area where, if the crematorium is built, the landscape will be seriously harmed.”
Memoria Ltd, who submitted the planning application, believes there is a need for a crematorium in Denbighshire and 69 per cent of responses they have received are in favour of the proposal.
Jamieson Hodgson, business development director at Memoria Ltd, said: ”It has been calculated that around 135,000 people will be closer to the proposed facility than any other crematorium in the country.
"The proposed facility is much needed in order to address the gap in service which currently exists within Denbighshire. This need for a crematorium and garden of remembrance stems from the lack of facilities in the county.”
Mr Barlow is not convinced by the figures.
He said: “Since they submitted their application, they’ve been forced to acknowledge that there is a similar application in the pipeline in Northop, Flintshire, which is 20 minutes away on the A55. They are now saying that’s for Flintshire and this one is
Mr Hodgson said if the Flintshire crematorium application is accepted it will not change Memoria Ltd's proposal.
He added: "Our application is designed to service a need in Denbighshire primarily. 135,694 people will be located closer to the proposed site than any other in the country. 85,000 of these people will be located in Denbighshire. This means that 88 per cent of Denbighshire will stand to benefit from our proposal.”
Memoria Ltd conducted a public consultation in September and October, which encouraged the local community to share their feedback on the plans.
A number of local politicians, including North Wales AM Antoinette Sandbach, have voiced concerns about the crematorium plans.
Ms Sandbach said: “I have met people who live near the site, and I share their concerns that this is an inappropriate development in the wrong place.
“There will be a large increase in traffic in and out of the site, and there are worries about the emissions from the crematorium chimney.”
Memoria Ltd remain committed to the proposal.
Mr Hodgson said: “We believe that we have found the best site to service the identified need whilst also providing the peaceful and tranquil setting that is required for a facility of this nature.
“The site has all the necessary road links to service the county. The site also benefits from existing screening on its boundaries which would be reinforced and enhanced with extensive new planting and structural landscaping to complement and benefit the character and appearance of the surrounding countryside.”
The consultation is set to be considered in early 2014.
For more information about the proposal visit www.denbighshirecrematorium.co.uk and www.cefngroup.wordpress.com.
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