Bude-Stratton Town Council have been criticised by members of the public regarding their stance on a planning application for a crematorium at Poundstock.
At the most recent council meeting, residents of Bude and surrounding areas came to express their concern regarding a planning application which would see a crematorium constructed at a site in Poundstock.
The application, submitted by the Atlantic View Crematorium Consortium, was recently quashed by the High Court.
Following a Bude-Stratton Town Council (BSTC) Planning Committee meeting on November 19, 2020, informal correspondence was sent regarding the Atlantic View Crematorium – which was later referenced in the Statement of Community Involvement.
The correspondence said: “Bude-Stratton Town Council Planning Committee would welcome a crematorium in the Bude area. It would be of great benefit and convenience to local grieving families not to have to travel at least an hour to Bodmin or Barnstaple on these incredibly difficult days.
“The committee appreciated the design concept and layout of the proposal. The committee felt it would also benefit the climate change ambitions of Bude-Stratton Town Council and the surrounding parishes.
“The committee appreciated the tree planting scheme within the application and would ask if there was a possibility of incorporating a Natural Burial area within the proposed application.”
The council felt the applicant’s use of this statement was misleading, as Atlantic View Crematorium Consortium suggested the council gave its “full support” — the council has since explained that it “does not support it”.
Since the ruling, which took place in October, conversation regarding the council’s involvement and stance on the issue has been raised.
During the full council meeting this month Cllr Tom O’Sullivan put forward a motion to resolve that in view of the recent Judicial Review decision relating to the planning application for a crematorium at Poundstock, that the council opposes the planning application on the grounds of concerns highlighted by the Judicial Review.
Speaking to the Post, Cllr O’Sullivan said: “My sole objective in requesting that it be discussed and resolved upon was so that BSTC’s position would be based on open, honest, transparent, and respectful debate bearing in mind the result of the recent quashing in the High Court of the approval of the planning application last November by Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee. Clearly, that did not happen Thursday [November 9] evening.”
Cllr O’Sullivan continued: “It was noteworthy that not a single councillor at Thursday’s meeting expressed any support whatsoever for the proposed crematorium.
“As regards to the application itself and speaking as somebody with no direct visual impact concerns as I live several miles from the proposed site, I am very strongly opposed to the application. One of my concerns right from the start was the application relies very heavily on the emotional aspect of the stress of long journeys to the nearest crematoria to say a final good-bye to loved ones. The application is however first and foremost a commercial one. Unless it is commercially viable it will not be built. The Holsworthy permission of more than 20 years ago is an example of such a scenario. Granting planning permission for a crematorium at a green field site will turn it into a brown field one thereby opening alternative development options that will have far greater chances of commercial success.
“To me it was highly irresponsible for BSTC to give any indication of approval without seriously considering the implications for a neighbouring parish.
“I have requested an urgent meeting with the mayor, deputy mayor and Cllr La Broy to discuss my concerns at the hopeless tangle BSTC has got itself into over the last three years in an attempt to restore the council’s credibility given the considerable disquiet among the members of the public who attended on Thursday evening.”
Cllr Peter La Broy responded: “The simple fact that a large number of people attended the full council meeting demonstrates the amount of concern in Poundstock with this application, which I recognise. Should the crematorium eventually be granted permission, it will need to meet the requirements of the Judicial Review, demonstrating that negative impacts on the immediate locality will have been addressed appropriately.
“I’ve listened to lots of opinion over the last year, almost everyone in Bude that I spoke with was overwhelmingly supportive. It represents a vital piece of infrastructure that will serve our community well, our population profile is changing, and we already have a higher number of mature people than the average. I know this might come across as a harsh observation, but I believe the need for a nearby crematorium is only going to increase as time goes on.
“There are a number of other positive impacts on our area, such the reduced miles we’ll need to travel to say goodbye to loved ones, the good quality year-round employment opportunities at the establishment and also the knock-on positive requirements for local hospitality businesses to cater for the gatherings after a cremation. I think this is an important point not to be overlooked, as these businesses are incredibly seasonal, and an underlying year-round opportunity will help provide year-round jobs.
“I should say that the comments above are made in my capacity as Cornwall Councillor for Bude, as I feel the Crematorium would benefit our community and it feels right and proper for me to express that view.”
The meeting was attended by many locals concerned about the potential development. Following the meeting, local resident Colin Cleave said: “I attended the BSTC meeting due to an agenda item referring to the judgment and BSTC’s involvement in this application. It was known that a large number of people would attend and not surprisingly it became chaotic to say the least.
“The proposal was simple - BSTC were asked to oppose the planning application in light of the Judicial Review judgement quashing it on nine grounds. It was not about whether a crematorium should be approved at that location because BSTC had already made it clear they did not agree to this development and had been misrepresented by the applicants.
“It was decided that the councillor would present his proposal and then the public could present their comments followed by the views of the councillors present. This unfortunately did not happen.
“At the meeting of the November 9, we were perceived as being an inconvenience and many present, especially Poundstock parishioners felt disrespected. As stated by a member of the public, we are all involved in our local areas. The apparent narrow view and certain comments as if outlying parishes were of no concern to BSTC were very worrying. As an area, whatever the views of people, tourism is very important and the beauty of the landscape contributes to the reasons visitors come to the Bude area.
“BSTC cannot absolve themselves of responsibility of what has happened in recent previous meetings, especially as this is still a live planning application. I appreciate all councillors presents are busy and would not have known what had gone on previously but some would have and should have made others aware of this contentious proposal.”
It was decided at the meeting that discussion of the application should be deferred to a later date.
Atlantic View Crematorium Consortium have been approached for comment.