Appeal hearing over plans to build crematorium between Shrewsbury and Oswestry
An appeal regarding the building of a new crematorium between Shrewsbury and Oswestry will now be heard in public.
Plans submitted to Shropshire Council by the Westerleigh Group to build the crematorium on land to the north of the village of Nesscliffe, were refused last year.
Westerleigh lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate in October and arrangements had been made for the appeal to take place via written representations.
However the Planning Inspectorate has now decided that a hearing will take place at the Shirehall in Shrewsbury in March.
When plans were first submitted to build the crematorium and associated buildings at Nesscliffe, officers from Shropshire Council's planning department recommended it for approval.
But when the matter went before councillors, the plans were first deferred and then refused.
Concerns had been raised regarding the unsuitability of the location, noise from the nearby Nesscliffe Army Camp and its helicopters, and smells from neighbouring chicken farms.
Matt Hubbard, from planning and development consultancy The Planning Hub, which represents Westerleigh, claims that the concerns relating to the noise from aircraft flights from the army camp are 'negligible and not a grounds for refusal'. The odour assessment concludes that smells should not be viewed as a 'constraint to planning permission being granted'.
He added: "Arguments for refusal are based on speculation and subjective views rather than tangible evidence. There is no valid planning reason to refuse this application."
Plans for the proposed crematorium were first submitted in 2018. Residents, businesses, the Ministry of Defence and the local councillor all spoke out against the scheme which would see land, which is currently used for agricultural purposes, landscaped and transformed in to a crematorium which would serve both Shrewsbury and Oswestry.
Those in favour of the proposal are a Shrewsbury-based funeral director and the NHS, who are concerned with delays in the system due to 'capacity issues at existing crematoria'.
They claim there would also be a reduction in travel costs, road miles and emissions.
Issues in relation to mortuary storage at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital would also be addressed.
Highways England has suggested a number of conditions if the scheme gets approval.
The matter will now be heard at a public hearing which starts at 10am on March 11 in the Ludlow Room.
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