Crematorium plan to be considered by councillors – but no decision to be made yet

A planning application to build a crematorium near Caersws will go in front of councillors on Thursday.

How the crematorium could look
How the crematorium could look

But Powys County Council’s (PCC) planning committee will only be able to give an opinion on the proposal, for now.

This is because the authority is waiting for a decision from the relevant Welsh Government minister after taking advice by planning inspectors, on whether they will call in the controversial application to be decided themselves.

If this is not the case, the council's opinion on the application will eventually become the decision.

Powys Crematorium Limited wants to build an all-new crematorium at a 13.66-hectare site north of the B4568 road at Ael Y Bryn between Caersws and Aberhafesp.

The plans include providing a green burial site as well as creating a garden of remembrance, new and improved access arrangements, and a car parking area.

The nearest crematoria are at Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury, which are both around 40 miles from the site.

Conservative County councillor for Dolforwyn, Gareth Pugh, is registered as the only company director for Powys Crematorium Limited on the Companies House website, which means that the application needed to be brought in front of the committee.

County councillor for Caersws, Les George, a fellow Conservative, has also “called in” the application for the decision to be made by the planning committee.

The report on the application shows that the plans have received 33 objections with eight comments supporting it.

PCC principal planning officer, Gemma Bufton, has said that the application is a “departure” from the Local Development Plan (LDP), meaning it does not comply.

Ms Bufton said: “The local member has raised major concerns from residents in the immediate neighbouring properties and Caersws over inadequate highway safety.”

In her report, Ms Bufton points out that there are 17 crematoria in Wales and that none of them are in Powys.

Ms Bufton said: “A feasibility assessment was submitted in support of the application.

“It is suggested that on average 77 per cent of deaths in the UK go to be cremated.

“This means on average that over 1,200 people yearly within Powys are cremated, all of which are currently travelling out of county.

“It is therefore considered that there is a recognised need within Powys for a crematorium, especially within this mid Powys region.

“The provision of such would therefore significantly reduce travel times for residents thus reducing CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions from vehicular movements.

“This recognised need will therefore be weighed against all other material planning considerations and weighted accordingly.”

Ms Bufton goes on to back the proposal and she believes this “need” is the biggest argument in favour of the proposal.

Ms Bufton said: “The site the subject of the application is located within open countryside but is not classified as being high quality agricultural land.

“The development at this location is acceptable with regards to highway access, landscape and ecological considerations.

“The recommendation would therefore be one of conditional consent.”

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