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Public inquiry to be held on village crematorium plan appeal

A public inquiry is to be held over plans to build a new crematorium on the edge of a village close to the West Norfolk border.

Dignity Funerals are challenging district councillors' decision to block their proposals for a new facility off Brandon Road, Weeting.

And a virtual hearing before a government planning inspector, which appeal documents suggest could last up to four days, is due to take place later this month.

Planning Applications (1887694)
Planning Applications (1887694)

The application was turned down in a Breckland Council planning committee vote last summer.

The decision came after planning officials concluded Dignity had failed to demonstrate sufficient need for the proposed development.

But the company claims existing facilities in the region, such as the Mintlyn Crematorium, near Lynn, are "significantly over-trading" and their proposal would provide better services for mourners.

No Caption ABCDE. (7893006)
No Caption ABCDE. (7893006)

The case submitted on their behalf argues there is a "clear and demonstrable need" for the scheme to reduce the length of time that people have to travel to get to a crematorium.

It also claims the scheme would allow other crematoriums in the region to improve their services, potentially by allowing more time for individual services.

The appeal documents added: "There is no requirement in policy terms to demonstrate a need for the development.

"Rather the existence of a need is a planning benefit which should weigh heavily in favour of granting planning permission."

But the council claims the company's case is "flawed" and based on out of date information.

It argues that previous rulings show high operating levels at other sites are not sufficient to justify permission for a new crematorium on their own.

And they say the company has to prove the site is needed in order to justify building the facility on a site which is classed as open countryside.

Their case said: "The issue is that there is no demonstrable need for the facility.

"On this basis, the landscape harm is not outweighed and the location of this particular proposed development in the open countryside is not justified in this case."

The inquiry is due to begin on April 27.

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