Plans for new crematorium to meet increasing death rates in Sunderland and Durham

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CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a crematorium look set to be approved, despite more than 100 objections.

Dignity PLC has applied to Durham County Council to build the new facility on land north of Castle Eden Brewery in Castle Eden to serve East Durham.

Research has found that within the next 10 years, Sunderland and Durham’s crematoriums will be operating at or in excess of their capacity at peak times, with the projected death rates to rise.

A report on the proposal says the new crematorium would reduce journey times, distances and stress for mourners from the area, with the land attractive, secluded and in a tranquil spot.

The company considered 30 other sites before choosing the Castle Eden land, which was selected because it is available, in a convenient location for people from East Durham, has good access from the A19 and its setting.

In addition to a new access road, car park, landscaping and lakeside garden and memorial garden, the development would be open from Monday to Friday and have a chapel which would seat 106 people, an office and reception.

Planners at Durham County Council have recommended it for approval and says it meets its planning criteria.

A total of 120 letters of objection and a 50-name petition backed by two county councillors were submitted against the scheme, with Castle Eden Golf Club, The Old Brewery business centre and a planning consultant acting on behalf of residents amongst those to call for it to be turned down.

They argue it goes against the council’s planning policies, question the demand for a crematorium and raise concerns about traffic.

The golf club has said its assessment has found there is a “significant risk” of golf balls being driven at speed into the site and would present a danger, with it to be held responsible for any injuries.

Castle Eden Parish Council has also said a crematorium would have inappropriate for such a village and potentially harmful to its character and appearance.

Members of the county council’s county planning committee will make a decision on the application on Tuesday (APRIL 1) at 2pm in the council chamber at County Hall, Durham.