A CLERGYMAN has welcomed support for a controversial crematorium which would be the first in Flintshire.
Flint rector, the Rev Brian Harvey, said the lack of a crematorium in Flintshire added to the grief of those forced to travel long distances to the funerals of loved ones.
Mr Harvey was speaking after Flint councillor Alex Aldridge accused opposers of plans for a Flintshire crematorium of “nimbyism” and said families should not have to travel to another county to lay relatives to rest.
Cllr Alldridge is the first Labour councillor to openly support plans for a crematorium to be built on 23 acres of land off Starkey Lane, near Northop.
Mr Harvey, who regularly conducts services in crematoria at Blacon, Pentrebychan and Colwyn Bay, welcomed Cllr Aldridge’s comments.
“I know from my ministry with bereaved families that the lengthy distance they have to travel for the funerals adds to the feelings of grief at the deaths of their loved ones,” he said.
“The frequent delays before funerals can take place, caused by heavy booking at the existing crematoria, adds to that distress.”
Cllr Aldridge said he was “fully supportive” of the Northop plans after questions were raised by residents via Facebook over whether Labour councillors were in support of the scheme.
The Labour councillor said: “I’m going to nail my colours to the mast – I’m fully supportive of the proposals for a crematorium.
“I’m not going to sign up to the nimbyism argument by saying we want one in Flintshire but it can’t come near Flint.
“As and when that application comes, I’ll be fully supportive of it. The development will be respectful, it will be tasteful and it will not harm anybody.
“That site is eminently suitable and will serve the needs of the surrounding areas, with people not having to travel too far.”
Cllr Aldridge said Flintshire Council’s unitary development plan (UDP), which sets out land use patterns for the next decade, included 7,800 new homes and the crematorium was needed to deal with the extra population.
He said: “I feel for people who have to go through that absolute pain for the loss of a loved one and then have to travel huge distances to have them cremated.
“People shouldn’t have to go across the counties to lay their family and friends to rest.”
Mr Harvey added: “I welcome the comments made by Councillor Alex Aldridge. The crematorium will serve the people of Flint as well as residents from a wider area and would be in an ideal and easily accessible location.
“I feel sure bereaved families would much prefer to pay their last respects in the beautiful setting which that location would provide, and take comfort from visiting it subsequently, rather than on some unattractive and functional brownfield site.”
Opponents of the plans have argued that siting the crematorium on greenbelt land would unacceptably harm the open barrier between Northop and Flint Mountain as well as significantly increasing road traffic which would be detrimental to the local community.
Steve Petter, a member of the Say NO to a crematorium in Northop campaign, said Flintshire’s UDP had “all sorts of clauses which do not promote the development of such a construction.
“If we don’t want something in our back garden, we are always going to be described as nimbys (not-in-my-backyard)”, he added. “But this just isn’t the right site.”