Bid for Crawley cemetery with 50 years’ burial space approved

Concept art for proposed cemetery

Concept art for proposed cemetery

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Councillors voted all in favour of a bid to create a cemetery that will provide 50 years’ of burial spaces for Crawley borough.

Plans to convert a four hectare girl guides campsite in an Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) off Old Brighton Road North, Pease Pottage, into the cemetery were approved at a Development Control Committee meeting on Tuesday (November 10).

Cllr Bill Ward (Lab, West Green) said: “It’s a very high price we are paying for the cemetery but I think there’s no alternative.

“It’s a green wooded area and it would be a great loss but in mitigation the town needs that cemetery.”

Planning officers recommended the application by the council for the change of use and creation of an access road from the A264 roundabout at Tollgate Hill, Broadfield.

The meeting heard Crawley could potentially be left without burial provision after Snell Hatch cemetery in West Green ran out of space. An officer said the council had made an ‘exhaustive’ search of alternative sites for the cemetery.

It was anticipated the site would become available for burials in 2017.

A single storey building which could be used by different religions will be made.

The report stated: “It is considered that the applicant has demonstrated that there is an exceptional need for the development within the High Weald AONB, and there would not be a loss of open space provision.

“Impacts upon the highway would be acceptable, and access would be provided for cyclists, pedestrians, public transport and cars.

“The impact on the character of the area, ecology and trees would be mitigated and compensated on site.”

A new pedestrian and vehicular access off the A264 will be made off a spur from the roundabout junction.

A shared cycle/pedestrian path from the top of Tollgate Hill to a new Toucan crossing was planned.

The proposals had addressed comments made by a Cycle Forum and the highways authority, West Sussex County Council.

The cemetery would be created in two phases with a total loss of 1,164 trees and at least 25m from any homes.

A car park with 28 standard and four disabled bays would be made in the first phase.

Twenty-one extra spaces in three locations around footpaths within the cemetery would be made in the second.

Additional parking could be provided along the access road.

A planning document stated: “The site would be re-graded to both improve access within the site and provide a better ground conditions for the site to be used for burials.

“The Councils Arboricultural Officer has also commented that there is no objection to the proposed development and subject therefore to conditions requiring the installation of the tree protection measures, works to improve the retained woodland through a habitat enhancement plan to compensate for the lost woodland, and some replacement planting, it is considered the loss of trees is outweighed by the benefit of providing a future cemetery for the residents of Crawley.”

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