Fury over Flintshire crematorium plan decision

Published date: 15 July 2014 |
Published by: Owen Evans 
Read more articles by Owen Evans  Email reporter


A DECISION on long-awaited and controversial plans for a crematorium has been delayed again.

Community leaders have expressed growing frustration after the decision on planning permission for the facility at land off Starkey Lane, Northop was put on hold.

Members of Flintshire Council’s planning committee had voted to hold a special meeting to determine the application “as early as possible in July”, and a provisional decision date had been set for Thursday.

The authority’s decision to postpone judgement on the application, which was submitted nearly a year ago, was slammed yesterday.

Cilcain councillor Owen Thomas, a member of the planning committee, said: “It’s very frustrating. I don’t think it should have been cancelled because on Wednesday this application has been in for 12 months. It should have been dealt with by now.

“It gives Flintshire’s planning committee a bad name.

“There was a special meeting to decide on having a special date and I think it should have come back to the committee to decide whether it should be postponed.”

After months of speculation, a rival firm last month submitted a plan for a site on land between Kelsterton Lane, Oakenholt Lane and Mold Road, near Northop – just two miles away from the Starkey Lane site submitted by funeral directors J E Davies and Sons.

Memoria Ltd said they submitted their plan for the site, which is not on the green barrier, after being set a deadline by Flintshire Council. 

The council denied it had set such a deadline but yesterday said Thursday’s meeting had been put back to give the council more time to evaluate Memoria’s rival bid.

Cllr Thomas added: “There’s nothing wrong with the initial site – it is ideal.

“At the meeting when we decided the date, we said nothing else should interfere with it.

“Some councillors said if there was another application, which obviously they were expecting, it should be considered and we said we were only there to deal with a date.

“We weren’t even being given the reason why it has been cancelled which to me is very bad.”

Funeral director Edward Davies admitted he was frustrated by the latest delay.

He said: “We are keen to go ahead with it but obviously it’s got to be right for the council when it is decided.

“We are still confident it’s going to go to through. We’ve assessed other sites in the area and we’re confident we’re in the right location.

“The access is good off the main A55 road – whereas the other sites we looked at meant travelling through local villages and, as a local myself, I didn’t want to do that.

“I’ve always said the majority of people aren’t against it and they are realising now why we have gone where we have.”

Flint Councillor Alex Aldridge, who has previously pledged his support for the Starkey Lane plan, said it was important that a decision was made as soon as possible.

He said: “I don’t know why there are these levels of delay.

“A resting place should be in a good environment, not some brown field site where anything could have been built on it.

“There needs to be a resolution to this as soon as possible.”

Jamieson Hodgeson, business development director at Memoria, said he was of the opinion that far less people would have to travel through Northop if their plan was approved.

He said: “We accept the smaller populations of Flint and Holywell would be likely to drive through Northop village to get to our site (down the A5199 and across the B5126) and could access Mr Davies’ site without having to do this.

“However, a far greater proportion of Flintshire’s population would be able to avoid Northop village in accessing our site, thus it is clear our site has a far lower impact on traffic generation in Northop village when compared to Mr Davies’ site.”

He added his belief that their chosen site would be less visually intrustive, that they had approached the council about building a crematorium in 2009, and after Mr Davies submitted his application, they thought it better to “allow this application to be refused before submitting an application of our own”.

He said: “As time has progressed, it became clear that Mr Davies was arguing that his chosen site was the only suitable site for a crematorium in Flintshire and it was looking increasingly difficult for anyone to disprove this theory without bringing forward a new planning application on a suitable non-green barrier site.

“It is our assertion that several of these sites exist in Flintshire and that we have found the best one from a planning and an operational perspective.”

Bereaved families currently have to travel to Blacon Crematorium in Chester, Pentrebycham Crematorium near Wrexham or Colwyn Bay.

In a statement Andrew Farrow, chief officer for environment and planning, said: “The special meeting of the planning and development control committee scheduled for July 17 has been postponed. 

“This is to allow the council to undertake a more detailed assessment of the recently submitted crematorium application made on behalf of Memoria. 

“No alternative date for the special committee has yet been established.”

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  1. Posted by: wonderwho at 10:05 on 15 July 2014 Report

    Our local Welsh Assembly minister needs to step into this like he did with Anglesey Council, FCC Councillors and officers are just one big joke, problem is it is real!!!!!!

  2. Posted by: wonderwho at 10:05 on 15 July 2014 Report

    Our local Welsh Assembly minister needs to step into this like he did with Anglesey Council, FCC Councillors and officers are just one big joke, problem is it is real!!!!!!

  3. Posted by: lilac1963 at 10:14 on 15 July 2014 Report

    I think that the decision to postpone the hearing for planning permission for Mr Davies' proposal is an absolute disgrace. This planning should have been heard a year ago and the crematorium would have been already up and running by now. There is something not right as to why it is being postponed all the time as though someone on the council does not want to see Mr Davies' plans passed.

  4. Posted by: northopian at 10:25 on 15 July 2014 Report

    Mr Sargent, you should be in here and sorting this, why, are councillors delaying this, what have they to gain from the delay ?

  5. Posted by: kevinweston11 at 11:29 on 15 July 2014 Report

    Another fine and expensive mess on the horizon!!

  6. Posted by: Prudy'sgirl5 at 12:32 on 15 July 2014 Report

    What is going on here folks???? It stinks, who knew about another bid? For best part of a year the only bid was Mr Davies' and only when it looked likely to get through did this new one pop up. It's a total disgrace that a local firm is not being given preference here especially as the site is right. Lilac1963 seems to be thinking along the same lines too, it's about time this was awarded to Mr Davies and get it up and running to lessen the burden for those who lose loved ones.

  7. Posted by: dukedom at 16:02 on 15 July 2014 Report

    Look at both applications- Davies one appears to show sameish traffic thru Northop as Memorias.Davies site on one of only 17 green belts in Flintshire, Memorias is not- would Aldridge agree if in Flint, not Northop. Memorias off a 50 MPH limit road, Davies a 60.

  8. Posted by: wonderwho at 16:31 on 15 July 2014 Report

    I would like to see the stats for traffic movements for both sites, just think how many would go through Northop if a Crem was built on the Mold Road there are a lot of people who live in the Flint, Greenfield, Mostyn, Holywell area that would need to go through Northop village and how many from the Buckley/Ewloe/Hawarden area would creep through Northop Hall to get to Mold Road

  9. Posted by: dukedom at 16:53 on 15 July 2014 Report

    Wonderwho- thought this crem was for WHOLE of Flintshire, so you cannot be selective on origin of likely users to bolster case for Davies application by just using parameters you state. We now have a choice- to me Memorias edges it at moment- so why Councillors sole interest in Davies application - the decision is one for a lifetime!!

  10. Posted by: wonderwho at 18:04 on 15 July 2014 Report

    Dukedom- my point was that I believe a Crem on Mold Road would cause more traffic to go through Northop and Northop Hall, also the location on Mold Road has had the road altered because of the dangers with the road junctions

  11. Posted by: dukedom at 18:34 on 15 July 2014 Report

    Wonderwho- understood, but if road is that dangerous, why a 50 limit at cross-roads, and 40 elsewhere- presumably because latter is where accidents have happened. If road altered, then surely this is to latest safety standard. The Davies application is off A5119 where only improvement is right turning lanes at Starkey Lane and Flint Mountain turn off. Site of Davies access off a road years old in design.

  12. Posted by: Oldgreen at 19:08 on 15 July 2014 Report

    It seems local councillers are pushing for the Davies proposal why is this,surely all sites must be considered,to me it looks cut and dried for the Davies site why, would they like it if on there back door I bet not

  13. Posted by: kevinweston11 at 19:30 on 15 July 2014 Report

    So a company from Oxfordshire is now taking an interest in a much needed local facility. Flintshire have muddled over this for 12 months. It will be interesting to see the declaration of interests from councillors involved in this latest fiasco!

  14. Posted by: wonderwho at 20:03 on 15 July 2014 Report

    Memoria Limited Memoria: Crematoria since 2005 Charnock Richard Crematorium (Chorley)* East Lancashire Crematorium (Bury)* Sherwood Forest Crematorium (Nottinghamshire)* Three Counties Crematorium (Braintree and district)* Wear Valley Crematorium (Durham and Darlington)* Cardiff and Glamorgan Memorial Park and Crematorium (Formerly the Vale of Glamorgan Memorial Park and Crematorium) * sold in 2009

  15. Posted by: dukedom at 08:18 on 16 July 2014 Report

    Wonderwho- do not suggest minister steps in like Anglesey- Aldridge earned himself around £100,000 for TWO days work a week there for 2 years, and Chief Execs wife some £50,000 for two days similar work for Assembly for 15 months in mid -wales. Cost taxpayers,us, some £750,000 in total. Do not feed the already well-paid.

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