Angus crematorium decision delayed for site visit

Angus councillors have further delayed deciding whether to approve plans for construction of a crematorium on farmland north of Dundee.
The only other crematorium in Angus is Parkgrove, near Friockheim. The next closest is in Dundee. (Scott Cormie/Geograph)The only other crematorium in Angus is Parkgrove, near Friockheim. The next closest is in Dundee. (Scott Cormie/Geograph)
The only other crematorium in Angus is Parkgrove, near Friockheim. The next closest is in Dundee. (Scott Cormie/Geograph)

After months of stalled decision-making following hundreds of objections from local residents, a final decision on the plans was anticipated Tuesday.

But members of Angus Council’s development management review committee (DMRC) decided that site visits are now necessary before reaching a resolution.

Plans for the facility were first submitted to council planners by local businessman, Guthrie Batchelor, nearly two years ago.

Mr Batchelor, director of family farming firm, FM & G Batchelor, wants to build the facility, including a car park and memorial garden, on nearly two hectares of farmland east of Duntrune House, near Murroes.

Councillors at the online meeting were given a review of the site including photos and maps, given by Nicola Hay of the council planning team.

Committee Convener, Bill Duff, Montrose and District, then said: “The question I have for elected members now is do they have information to determine the case?”

David Fairweather, member for Arbroath West, Letham and Friockheim, said: “Regarding the simple fact that there are so many objections…I think it would be well worthwhile the committee seeing it for themselves.”

All other members agreed.

Summing up, Mr Duff said: “I feel that an unaccompanied site visit is definitely required here. I think we have a huge number of objections. Many of those focus on the roads, and while we’ve seen the slides this afternoon, I think there is no substitute for actually looking at that on site.

“What that means is we will be accompanied by officers, but we won’t meet either applicant or objectors…and I think the site visit would allow us to see the road layout and the various junctions, I would think, in detail.”

Mr Batchelor says there is a need for another crematorium in Angus. Currently there is only one, located outside Friockhem. The next closest is in Dundee

In January, Angus Council concluded that the plans breached local, regional and national planning policies. Local residents say the site is unsuitable because rural roads will not be able to cope with increased traffic.

Moreover, they highlighted “serious discrepancies” in a lengthy report for the council.

Collectively, the objectors have spent £3500 on fees and publicity opposing the plans.

They also say, the existing two crematoria are enough for the district.