A RIVAL company has confirmed it is set to swoop if a planning application for a controversial crematorium is refused.
Memoria Ltd, which previously had an application to build a similar facility in Denbighshire rejected, says it has identified four alternative locations to build a crematorium in Flintshire.
The company says it is in the process of identifying the best site and is aiming to submit its own planning application “within the next three to four weeks”.
Flintshire Council has confirmed Memoria has identified two potential sites – one in Penyffordd and one in Pont Einion, Northop, and that neither of the sites are within the green barrier.
The company has also said it has identified another two potential sites in Northop for the development.
Flintshire Council says a third site in Kelsterton has also been identified – a site which has been put forward by an another group.
Funeral director Edward Davies, who has already lodged an application to build a crematorium in Tyddyn Starkey in Northop, says his company has already done a “thorough” review on all possible sites in the county.
He said he is confident his planning application will be approved when it goes before the planning committee next month.
Despite this, Jamieson Hodgson, business development director at Memoria, said he believes the application made by Mr Davies should be refused.
“It is our professional opinion that Mr Davies’ scheme fails the test for allowing development in the green barrier,” said Mr Hodgson.
“Green barrier policy clearly states that development can only be allowable if no other suitable, available and deliverable sites outside of the green barrier exist.
“Mr Davies has submitted a site selection document in which he concludes there are no other available sites outside of the green barrier – justifying his development.
“We ultimately disagree with the findings.”
Mr Davies said he has reviewed all other possible sites and submitted a report to Flintshire Council which has “approved” the findings.
“We have done a thorough search of all the sites in the area, looking at all of the catchment areas,” said Mr Davies.
“We are confident as we can be about our application.
“I am local to the area and I know the needs of the area.”
Memoria has said there are a number of sites in Flintshire that would meet the identified need but which would not have to be located within this protected green area.
Mr Hodgson said: “We have made two of these sites available to the council. We will show the council that these sites are suitable, available and deliverable.
“It is our opinion that the [existing] application should be refused on this basis.”
He added: “We are still assessing all of our sites as it is essential for us to only advance a planning application when we have identified the best one.
“We will be aiming to make further representations to the council regarding additional available sites outside of the green barrier this week.
“We are looking to conclude these investigations and submit a planning application to the council within the next three to four weeks.”
The latest proposals have been met with mixed feelings.
Northop community councillor Geoffrey Pierce has welcomed the idea, saying it is a good thing that other sites are being considered.
But Northop Hall county councillor Tony Sharps has slammed the advances made by Memoria.
He said: “As far as I’m concerned it is ridiculous.
“What will be, will be and I’m sure the planning committee will make the correct decision.”
The authority has also been criticised by a member of its own planning committee, Buckley county councillor Richard Jones, who believes looking at other sites could be seen as pre-empting a decision on Mr Davies’ current application.
He said: “The timing is all wrong and if the application does go through this will all be a waste of time.
“I don’t think they should be looking at other sites. You should consider an application in it’s own right.
“If that application hadn’t been made it would be a different matter.”
A spokesman for Flintshire County Council said: “The county council must ensure any recommendation on the Tyddyn Starkey application is robust and that all alternative sites have been fully evaluated.
“The recent submission on behalf of Memoria included a site that had not previously been identified at Penyffordd so that needed to be evaluated alongside the other site promoted by them and the objector group. The council will undertake a further review of these sites.”