Hundreds of new jobs may be jeopardised by application for Chatteris crematorium
A PROPOSAL for a new crematorium in Chatteris, which could jeopardise the creation of 300 new jobs at a local business, is to be reconsidered by councillors.
The application to build a crematorium with gardens and a car-park, in Fenton Way, originally granted by councillors last year against the recommendation of officers, was quashed at the High Court in April.
But instead of withdrawing the plans, applicant Memoria Crematoria Ltd have submitted a fresh ‘needs analysis’, ready for councillors to reconsider the development at a later date.
The revived application has caused nearby fruit and vegetable packing company Erms UK to halt their own expansion plans, which would create 300 jobs in a new factory.
In a letter of objection, Ian Smith, Managing Director at Erms UK, said: “If the Chatteris proposal were to be granted permission it would most certainly change the thought process for Erms UK to develop and invest within this area.
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“Since hearing of the submitted needs analysis, which we presume means the applicant remains intent on getting planning permission, we have again, reluctantly, put a halt to our plans until the future of this immediate area is fully understood.”
Mr Smith claimed that during the previous application, reports put to councillors had failed to properly set-out the impact on businesses.
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He said: “I fear councillors will once more fail to weigh our needs properly, and again grant consent for something which is plainly not needed, yet would harm the expansion of this industrial area.
“It seems to me that the granting of this proposal now would have the most negative impact on any future expansion plans in this area.”
Dignity, who operates Fenland’s new crematorium at March, have also objected to the plans.
They have asked for an extension of the deadline for responses to the application and a detailed timetable for its consideration, to allow them to “prepare a full response”.
An objection letter from Alan Lathbury, Head of Business Development at Dignity, pointed out that their Fenland Crematorium is just 10 minutes drive from Chatteris.
He said: “There is simply no need for another crematorium within the district - infact, quite the opposite is true - using the applicant’s own figures, the Fenland Crematorium would not be viable, undertaking just 567 services a year!
“If this application were to be permitted, it would open the floodgates for any new crematorium to be built anywhere.
“Indeed, Fenland council may find themselves dealing with never ending applications adjacent to existing ones; thus entirely compromising the presumption against development in the open countryside.”