Campaigners welcome Government rejection of crematorium plan

The Welsh Government made the right decision in quashing planning permission for a Crematorium, say campaigners against the proposals.

How the Crematorium could have looked.
How the Crematorium could have looked.

Following a planning hearing in July, the Welsh Minister for Climate Change Julie James MS on the advice of the planning inspector Tony Thickett, made the announcement in October to stop the scheme – for land near Caersws.

The planning application had been lodged in late 2020 by Powys Crematorium Limited to build an all-new crematorium at a site north of the B4568 road on land “formally known” as Ael Y Bryn between Caersws and Aberhafesp.

The company is owned by Conservative Powys County Councillor for Abermule, Councillor Gareth Pugh.

The application had been approved by the council’s planning committee in May 2021.

In August 2021, the development was “called in” to be decided by a Welsh Government Minister.

David Evans and Janet Mackinnon who gave evidence against the Crematorium at the planning hearing issued a joint statement following the decision, saying it had been the right conclusion.

They said: “We a small team who have opposed the crematorium, very much welcome the decision to refuse based on the inspectors’ recommendation.

“The right decision has been made to refuse this application.

“Call in by the Welsh Government enabled local and wider objections to the proposal to be properly considered.”

They also believe that future versions of the Local Development Plan (LDP) for Powys, which earmarks candidate sites for development in the county, should consider allocating an alternative site, or sites, for cremation services, should the need arise.

They point out that a feasibility study made public following Freedom of Information requests concluded that a crematorium in Powys would need to be based between Newtown and Llandrindod Wells.

Both Mr Evans and Ms Mackinnon believe that lessons could be learnt from similar developments in the Scottish Borders where small crematoria have been built.

To help this they believe that cross border discussions between Powys and Shropshire should happen.

They said: “Although there is no current need, it may be more sustainable and optimal in the long-term future, to develop two small crematoria in Newtown and Llandrindod, using existing settings, rather than a single larger facility in an isolated position.

“These two large towns have roads to and from a wide catchment and do not impose on the four existing crematoriums across the borders of Powys and meets the needs of the whole of Powys.

Councillor Pugh has confirmed he will not be challenging the decision, saying: "The minister’s word is final."

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