Scoulton cemetery plans to go before Breckland Council for third time

The Scoulton village sign on the B1108 Norwich Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Scoulton village sign on the B1108 Norwich Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Controversial plans for a crematorium in a Norfolk village which were thrown out by the High Court are going back before local planners next week.

Proposals for the crematorium in Scoutlon were sent back to Breckland Council in May after the permission it granted five months earlier was quashed.

The application from Thornalley Funeral Services Ltd is due to go before the planning committee for a third time on Monday.

In a decision update posted in June, the council said 'relevant parties were being reconsulted' and members of the public were able to make further comments on the proposal.

If approved it would see memorial gardens and workshops built alongside a main crematorium building on the site, which is around 0.5km from Scoulton Mere, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with a new access off Norwich Road.

Both Scoulton Parish and Higham Town Councils have raised concerns about the increased traffic flow the crematorium could bring to the B1108. Norfolk highways authority noted 'concerns about the location and sustainability' of the development in March 2015, but has not lodged an objection.

Environmental concerns have also been raised about the greenfield site, which is close to habitats home to great crested newts and otters.

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In comments submitted on the proposal in August, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said there was 'a lack of any compelling case for its need in this location', adding: 'The proposed change of landscape character, from agricultural to crematorium use, with buildings, chimney, access road, highway improvement, loss of hedgerows, removal of protected trees and the introduction of car parking, a network of footpaths, ornamental and parkland planting and a pond would be detrimental to the identified landscape qualities of the area.'

The application was first submitted in December 2014 with permission being granted in August 2015. This decision was quashed after a judicial review and the proposals sent back to Breckland Council. In January 2016 the council granted approval again, which was challenged in the High Court on different ground and again quashed.

Following this second High Court judgement, Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman wrote to Breckland Council requesting that matters raised by during the judicial review challenge – including consideration of alternative sites and possible 'misdirection' over the scheme's impact on air quality – be addressed before the application was reconsidered.

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