Controversial plans for crematorium on Green Belt land near Flitwick submitted

A previous application to build the development off Fordfield Road in Steppingley was withdrawn

Friday, 29th October 2021, 5:17 pm
Updated Friday, 29th October 2021, 5:18 pm

Controversial plans for a crematorium on Green Belt land near Flitwick have been submitted by a local authority.

A previous application to build the development off Fordfield Road in Steppingley was withdrawn by Central Bedfordshire Council.

This followed public feedback ahead of the planning process, with their fears including highways issues and the availability of alternative sites outside the Green Belt.

Artist's impression of an internal view of the service hall

The premises would become Central Bedfordshire’s first crematorium, if approved by the council's development management committee.

"Changes to the environment since the first proposals include a new 40mph speed limit on Fordfield Road, after safety concerns raised by residents," said Central Bedfordshire Council in a statement.

"A proposed cycleway and footway link from Center Parcs has been installed, which will form an integral part of the council’s proposal for connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists under the scheme.

"The proposal remains in the same location as was previously submitted, to be built on agricultural land, with access from Fordfield Road.

What the crematorium would look like

"Residents are having to travel to a crematorium out of the area currently."

A social media posting by a resident suggested Bedford Crematorium would be opposing the development, as it could affect its business, and such a premises is unnecessary for another 20 years.

But no objections have been listed officially on Central Bedfordshire Council's website at the current time.

Conservative Dunstable Watling councillor Eugene Ghent said: “This would be the first crematorium facility for people in Central Bedfordshire, and is much-needed.

Tree-lined approach towards the entrance

"Residents currently have to travel to a crematorium out of the area.

“We want to provide our residents with a local service at what can often be a very distressing and challenging time for families," added councillor Ghent, who's the executive member for assets and housing delivery.

Subject to approval, construction is estimated to take 12 months, according to the council.

"Steppingley has a central location within Central Bedfordshire allowing for easy access for all residents," said the council on its website.

"The law requires new crematoria to be a minimum of 200 yards from any home or within 50 yards of any public road, which means they're often in a countryside location.

"The suggested site off Fordfield Road and behind Steppingley Hospital is tucked away from sight. There would be extra landscaping, so the building wouldn't impact on its surrounds.

"Within the proposed designs, there would be open space to provide tranquility, and a sculpture garden and benches for contemplation.

"The proposal also includes a tree-lined avenue, formal remembrance gardens, informal meadows and a lake."

Residents are obliged to use those in other districts instead, such as the Vale Cemetery and Crematorium in Luton, Cambridge City Crematorium, and the facilities at Harwood Park in Stevenage, which are close to full capacity, explained CBC.

"We would also consider a footpath and cycleway from Flitwick railway station to the crematorium, where we anticipate there are likely to be four or five services a day."