Fears raised over proposed location of new Sunderland crematorium

Multi-million pound plans for a new crematorium in Sunderland are facing cross party opposition amid concerns over its possible location.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 4:40 pm
Updated Friday, 5th March 2021, 4:44 pm
Sunderland Crematorium. Picture by Frank Reid
Sunderland Crematorium. Picture by Frank Reid

Proposals for a new site between Silksworth Lane and Silksworth Road have been raised with city councillors in an attempt to ease pressure on the existing facility at Bishopwearmouth.

But the suggestion has already been slammed by Wearside’s three main political parties, raising concerns about traffic and privacy.

“The main issue is the proposed location,” said Phil Tye, whose Silksworth ward is the other side of Silksworth Lane from the proposed site.

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Silksworth councillor and Sunderland Labour chairman Phil Tye

“It needs to be a dignified, peaceful place, which the current [crematorium site] is, but it does also need to be expanded.

“To have it overlooked by the Gilly Law flats is just not dignified or appropriate and, although it’s not greenbelt land, it is also the settlement break between Silksworth and St Chad’s.

Of this, £7.5million has been set aside for a ‘new purpose-built crematorium’.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Doxford Heather Fagan

According to a council briefing note, Gilly Law has been identified as the ‘preferred site’, although further investigations are needed before plans can be developed further.

Cllr Tye, who is also chairman of the city council’s ruling Labour Party group, has been joined by Conservative opposition councillor Dominic McDonough in opposing the scheme.

Cllr McDonough, whose St Chad’s ward includes the proposed site, said the initial choice of location ‘could not be more inappropriate’.

He added: “We already have serious issues with parking and traffic build up which this proposal would make worse.

Conservative opposition councillor Dominic McDonough

“We would also see a huge area of green space destroyed whilst mourners would be overlooked by nearby high rise flats, depriving them of the privacy and respect they deserve when grieving.”

The scheme has also been condemned by opposition Liberal Democrat councillor for Doxford Heather Fagan, who raised concerns about further loss of green space in the area.

Sunderland City Council has been contacted for further details.

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