New crematorium plans for North Kesteven

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A new crematorium in North Kesteven would need to carry out 900 funerals a year to be commercially viable, organisers have said.

District authority members have quizzed members of South Lincolnshire Crematorium and Lincolnshire Co-operative on the facility planned for between Thurlby and Haddington, south west of Lincoln.

The proposed building ‘bears many similarities’ to one they already own in Surfleet, organisers said.

It would be accessed via Haddington Lane, and would include an 85 space car park and associated gardens and landscaping.

Councillors at North Kesteven District Council’s Pre-Application Planning Forum on Tuesday queried the need for the facility, its effect on the environment and traffic issues.

Andy Bowser, from South Lincolnshire Crematorium, said: “This will provide much-improved accessibility and better service for the majority of North Kesteven population. This in turn will cut down journey times and reduce stress by being greater certainty to mourners.

“The new facility will offer tranquil and peaceful rural settings away from the harsh urban surroundings and traffic.

“It will also offer a fresh, new and modern venue that will improve people’s overall experience at a difficult time.”

He told councillors that the district’s population is increasing yearly by 1.3 per cent, compared to 0.9 per cent nationally. The number of people aged 65-plus is expected to rise to 31 per cent of the population by 2039.

Mr Bowser said the number of cremations in Lincolnshire has increased by 18 per cent in a decade with 45-minute service slot targets now being missed.

He said one-and-a-half new crematoriums were required to meet the needs of the county.

However, councillors were told that building closer to Sleaford would only result in 450 cremations a year, which the companies considered to be commercially unviable.

David Dernley from Lincolnshire Co-op said the new facility at Surfleet had been a real benefit to the community.

He said it had ‘rescued’ two nearby village pubs from closure as they now held a number of wakes.

Environmentally, the facility would produce the same emissions as a car driving down a single-track road and would save car 44,000 miles a year, said the organisers. Lincolnshire Co-op also encouraged ‘eco-friendly’ coffins.

He said the facility would be accessed by turn-offs from a number of nearby major roads, reducing traffic through nearby villages.

Following the meeting NKDC leader Richard Wright said: “There were some very good questions from members who want to get a better picture of the whole project and with a bit of luck the questions that gave issues the applicants will be able to go away and look at.

“This is something we’ve looked at, it is a service residents are in need of.”

Opposition leader Marianne Overton said: “It’s a rural location and we queried the access by road and transport. It’s important these places are accessible to everyone and not just those who have a vehicle.

“It’s outside of a town, not close to one, so you are talking about car journeys – which they argued it would reduce but you could argue the other direction depending on where you’re coming from.”

These latest plans may cut across North Kesteven District Council’s own intentions to look towards building a crematorium sited in the district as a means to fulfill a perceived local need, cut journey times for mourners who have to travel to surrounding towns at present, and provide a potential income stream for the council. The Executive Board recommended in February that the council should press ahead with the plans. They suggested joint arrangements be explored with City of Lincoln Council and with a private land owner dedicating up to £200,000 from reserves. Officers were to report back to the board.