OPINION was divided as members of the public came face-to-face with developers behind a proposed crematorium in Surfleet.
There was only two votes difference in an informal show of hands from 42 people present at the special meeting of Surfleet Parish Council on Monday, with the public leaning towards objecting to the plans.
South Lincolnshire Crematorium directors Andrew Butt and Andy Bowser told the meeting residents had “very little to fear” and tried to allay concerns over increased traffic, emissions, noise and appearance.
They urged residents to have their say – good and bad – by formally commenting on the planning application which is under consultation at South Holland District Council.
The designs for the ten-acre site near to the A152 link road include a single-storey chapel and a 2.5-acre wild flower meadow.
Zara Foster, from The Crown Inn, was among those to speak in support of the scheme: “I went to school next to a crematorium and there was no noise and no smell, nothing. If you can have a school next to a crematorium, I am sure it’s acceptable.
“I have been here 15 years running The Crown. It will help jobs and other businesses.
“If it’s going to be as the plans say, what’s the problem?”
Trevor Wright gave his backing, too.
“I think these are the best plans people in Surfleet have had for years,” he said. “All of the points put up in opposition you can answer quickly.
“The noise in the crematorium, if it’s adequately built and sound-proofed, will be no problem.
“If the council take it upon themselves, heavy goods vehicles can be banned and told to use the bypass. This would allow traffic to pass through and set the speed limit at 30mph.”
However, a number of concerns were repeated to Mr Butt and Mr Bowser about the increase in traffic, loss of agricultural land and the potential decrease in value of nearby homes.
One villager, who did not give her name, was applauded as she said the developers had not considered how it would feel “depressing” to have a crematorium in Surfleet.
Several members of public also demanded to know which other sites in South Holland had been considered before Surfleet.
Parish councillor Fran Healands said: “It’s not very trustworthy that you will not discuss the sites. You cannot physically say a reason why you have dismissed these sites.”
• Surfleet parish councillors will be submitting an objection to the crematorium plan.
A list of criticisms and concerns about the scheme, which were raised by members of the public during the question and answer session with developers, will accompany their submission to South Holland District Council.
Council chairman Coun Glynn Waltham said: “I am not against the crematorium. I do not feel that is the right site and we do not need the extra burden of traffic in the village.”
Coun Mary Hurst also agreed it was the wrong place for it.
“Taking on board the issues arisen while members of the public have been present, I would have to vote against it,” she said.
A proposal to object was passed five votes to nil.