Councillors asked to back Mintlaw crematorium bid

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BUCHAN planners are recommending approval for a proposed crematorium on land at West Knock Farms, Mintlaw.

An application seeking full planning consent will go before members of the Buchan area committee when they meet in Peterhead later today (Tuesday).

Applicants, Kinmundy Crematorium Limited, want to build the crematorium and chapel, accommodating approximately 450 mourners, as well as a garden of remembrance, car parking for 290 cars, a tea room for the provision of funeral teas (with a capacity for 450), and extensive landscaping.

It is proposed to operate the crematorium between the hours of 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, 8am to 1pm on Saturdays, with the facility being closed on Sundays. Services are proposed between 9.30am and 4pm.

The applicants advise that short-term employment of approximately 20 persons will be required during the construction phase, with long term employment of five full-time staff once operational, as well as any ‘spin-off’ employment opportunities associated with ancillary servicing such as funeral teas etc.

In a report to go before today’s meeting, planning officer Katherine Donnachie says an estimated total number of vehicle movements of 300 cars per day is suggested although the Transport Assessment, which accompanies the application, has been modelled on a ‘worse case’ scenario of 225 cars per service if operating at maximum capacity.

It is estimated that four cremations per day will be held, with a maximum level of seven per day. Supporting submissions outline that four staff will be employed at the crematorium, with six to eight staff in the tearoom plus two cleaning staff.

Ms. Donnachie says the application was advertised when first submitted and attracted a considerable number of objections, with a total of 52 individual letters received, plus a petition signed by 200 parties objecting to the proposal.

“On receipt of additional information relating to air quality and other key matters the application was duly re-advertised. Some parties replied with further elaboration on their original objection and a further 84 standard letters of objection were submitted to give a total of 136 objection letters, from 100 properties,” she says.

“It is considered that the need for a crematorium site in north Aberdeenshire is established, and that this is a particular case where the market will decide which site will proceed, given that there are other alternative sites available. The sites itself benefits from an attractive existing visual setting which will be further developed through the implementation of the proposed landscaping scheme which should help ensure that the amenity of neighbouring properties is not adversely affected to a degree warranting refusal.

“The quality of the proposed design is good, with servicing arrangements satisfactory and any impacts upon wildlife capable of being mitigated. Accordingly the site itself is considered to comply with relevant policies on siting, servicing, layout and design.

“It is considered that there are sound reasons why an out of town location is sought for this particular land use. Accordingly, while such a location is technically a departure from council planning policies on the siting of community facilities the site benefits from good connectivity to the settlements in terms of the proximity to an A class road, while the proposals to upgrade the connecting C class road (including footpath link) will render the site accessible by other means of transport should this be desired”