Crematorium plan for site near Gretton narrowly approved
Councillors and the local community raised concerns about traffic levels and flooding
A plan to build a crematorium on an open countryside site near Gretton was narrowly approved last night (Tuesday).
Dignity Funerals applied for permission to build the crematorium, a 120-seat chapel, memorial gardens and a linear pool on farmland in Corby Road, about 1km south of the village and not far from the former Rockingham Speedway.
It was recommended for approval by planning officers despite a raft of objections from nearby residents and councillors who said it wasn't the right location.
And, after a debate lasting almost an hour, Corby Council's development control committee narrowly gave the plan the green light with five votes for and four against.
Cllr David Sims (Con, Oakley South) raised concerns about poor public transport to the site and the 'unacceptable' amount of traffic it would cause.
He said: "Yes, it would be good to have a crematorium to serve the people of Corby and the surrounding areas.
"However I do believe there's other suitable sites that could be used, certainly not in open countryside which this is."
Cllr Kevin Watt (Con, Weldon and Gretton), echoed his concerns and added that he was concerned about flooding in the area.
He said: "I'm not sure I would want to travel in a vehicle to a funeral where the water is up to the doors."
Flooding concerns were also raised by Cllr Jean Addison (Lab, Rowlett), who later voted for the plan.
Another to vote for the plan, Cllr Bob Eyles (Lab, Lodge Park), said it was 'highly needed' with the borough's growing population.
Dignity Funerals had said that there was an established need for a crematorium as people in Corby currently have to travel to Kettering, adding that people from Rutland would also use the facility.
But Corby environment campaigner Lee Forster questioned the need for one in the borough, saying that Kettering's crematorium held 1,791 cremations in 2019 despite having a capacity for between 2,500 and 2,700.
He said: "It seems like we're putting this here to deal with Peterborough and Rutland."
And Cllr Tim Fox, from Gretton Parish Council, raised "significant concerns" about the plans.
He said the local road network was not good enough to cope with the site's 1,222 vehicle movements a day, that it would have a negative impact on air quality and that the open countryside site was not sustainable.
He told councillors it was their chance to stand by their declaration of a climate emergeny.
He said: "We submit that a more sustainable site can, and should, be found for this development."
A total of 36 letters of objection to the plans were received.
Planning officers said a range of conditions attached to the approval of the plans addressed concerns raised.