Willoughby crematorium planning appeal rejected

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A CONTROVERSIAL planning appeal to build a huge crematorium in a village near Rugby has been turned down.

The Planning Inspectorate wrote to interested parties just before Christmas to confirm that the appeal against a decision not to allow a crematorium to be built in Willoughby is not valid.

The original application was refused by Rugby Borough Council last year.

The Planning Inspectorate said that no further action will be taken, unless the applicant submits another planning application.

Chairman of the community action committee VACC and Willoughby Parish Council, Mike Thomas said: “This is excellent news. It is such a relief to everyone in the community to know that this threat is finally behind us. There may be future applications but we can deal with these as they arise. It has been a heavy cloud hanging over us which is now lifted. The whole community have pulled together to fight the plan. We have had the support of our MP Jeremy Wright and other parish councils in the area. It has all helped us to keep going.”

The campaign against the crematorium, planned for land off Moor Lane in Willoughby, began two years ago.

The original application was to build a 22,000 plot cemetery and two crematoriums on the site.

More than 500 letters of objection were received, fundraising began to pay for expert help, and community walks and protests were held.

It was declared that the site was not suitable for burials, which was then followed by a new application for just a crematorium.

In June last year Rugby Borough Council refused planning permission.

Local resident and VACC member Kathy Hayter said: “It was so lovely to be able to deliver the good news to people between Christmas and New Year. Everyone has worked so hard over the last two years. All of the effort has been rewarded. We are grateful to the press for their sustained interest and comprehensive reporting of the facts. It has helped us remain focused and brought the issues to wider public attention. We would also like to pay tribute and acknowledge the support we received from the late Gordon Collett who maintained a keen interest in the community’s battle up to the date of his death.”