High Court judge orders review of King’s Lynn funeral firm’s crematorium plan

The scales of justice
The scales of justice

A High Court judge has ordered a judicial review of the decision to give a Lynn funeral director planning permission for a new crematorium.

Breckland District Council gave a third green light to proposals lodged by Thornalley Funeral Services Ltd last December.

The firm’s plans for the site, off Norwich Road, Scoulton, near Attleborough, include access roads, a car park and memorial gardens.

But, during a hearing at the High Court in London on Tuesday, Mr Justice Ouseley said it was “arguable” that the authority’s decision to grant planning consent could be unlawful.

He said a full hearing on the dispute should take place within the next few weeks.

Two earlier council decisions to grant planning permission for the crematorium were previously overturned at the High Court.

The latest claim was brought before the High Court by lawyers representing a rival funeral directors, Dignity Funerals Ltd.

Dignity, which owns and operates two crematoria in Norwich, plans to build a new one between Weeting and Brandon.

Peter Village QC, representing Dignity, told the court the council was “fully aware” of its plans for the site.

He said the council’s failure to consider this as an alternative site when reaching its decision on the Norwich Road proposals was a “clear error of law”.

The barrister added: “Regrettably, the decision to grant planning permission is once again infected by serious legal error.

“The council has once again erred in the interpretation of its own policies.”

Mr Justice Ouseley directed a full judicial review hearing to take place before the end of June.

Although planning permission for the crematorium was first granted by Breckland Council in December 2014, that and a subsequent permission decision were both quashed following legal challenges. In both instances, the case was referred back to the council for a fresh decision.

Supporters have previously claimed the project would help local businesses and people living in the area, who they say currently have to travel to Lynn or Bury St Edmunds for funerals.

But opponents said they were worried about the potential environmental and transport implications of the proposal.