THE boss of a funeral director’s behind controversial Flintshire crematorium plans has accused campaigners of ‘naked hostility’ and ‘intimidation’ towards him.
Edward Davies, of J E Davies & Son, which wants to build the county’s first crematorium on 23-acres of land near Northop, has snubbed an invitation to attend a second meeting to discuss the plans.
Mr Davies said the behaviour of opponents at a previous meeting, where more than 100 people packed into the Edith Bankes Memorial Institute, was ‘appalling’.
Now a special meeting organised by Northop Community Council for Friday to debate the plans further has been thrown into doubt after J E Davies & Son indicated they will not attend.
Opposition campaigners argue the behaviour at the first meeting reflected residents’ anger at the proposals and a no-show from J E Davies & Son at a second meeting would deny thousands of residents of Northop and surrounding villages the opportunity of finding out more about its plans.
But in a statement to the Leader J E Davies & Son boss, Mr Davies, said: “We were all appalled by the way the meeting on September 9 was both organised and conducted.
“The naked hostility and intimidation that we encountered was not conducive to open and constructive debate and we fear that any future meeting will degenerate into a similar chaotic vilification of me.
“Neither I or any member of my team will be attending such a meeting on November 1.”
Confusion reigned in the early stages of September’s meeting as scores of people were left outside the allotted room, forcing the community council to move the meeting to the main hall to accommodate the crowd amid calls for the meeting to be abandoned.
The upheaval caused the time limit of the planned hour-long meeting to be halved and it was later effectively adjourned by chairman Cllr John Carling.
Mr Davies said the summit was not conducted as they had agreed and the applicants were not “given fair play”.
He added: “No opportunity was given by my team to rebut the points made by the opponents’ planning consultant nor were we allowed any scope to answer points made by the opponents – many of which were inflammatory and at best misinformed.
“It is for these reasons we will not be in attendance.”
Northop county councillor Tony Sharps sympathised with Mr Davies. He claimed September’s first meeting was an ‘absolute shambles’ adding the objectors to the crematorium ‘behaved appallingly’. But Martin Davidson, of campaign group Say No 2 Northop Crematorium, rebutted the accusations, arguing that people were angry because they do not want a crematorium in Northop.
Northop county councillor Marion Bateman, said the community council did not organise the September meeting and instead said the authority ‘facilitated it for both applicant and opposition’.
Steve Petter, leader of the campaign group, said: “By not attending, he (Mr Davies) is denying the thousands of residents of Northop and surrounding villages the opportunity of finding out more about his plans, which he has not shared despite all his previous promises.
“For our part, the action group are happy to attend if the meeting goes ahead.”
He added at the previous meeting that ‘it was clear that nobody in the area wants this crematorium in Northop’.
“The county council have not said there is a need for one in Flintshire and the proposed site is on land which is protected from development by county and national planning policies,” he said.
“Mr Davies has simply bought the land because he wants to build a crematorium on it. We can’t always have what we want.
“If this is allowed to go ahead then what is the point of having planning policies?”
Cllr Sharps said the council would now have to discuss whether to go ahead with Friday’s planned meeting.