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Crematorium not sustainable development

Land adjacent The Orchard Restaurant, West Grinstead RH13 8LU

Appeal Ref: APP/Z3825/A/14/2216102, 27 May 2015

David Lintott successfully appeared for Horsham District Council in this s.78 planning appeal. John Hobson Q.C. appeared for the Appellant. The case contains a useful analysis of the way in which applications for crematoria should be approached in the context of sustainability.

The appeal was made by Peacebound Ltd against the decision of Horsham District Council refusing to grant permission for a crematorium.

John Woolcock BNatRes(Hons) MURP DipLaw MRTPI, an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, concluded that:

(1) "The Framework states that the purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development. The economic, social and environmental roles for the planning system, which derive from the three dimensions to sustainable development in the Framework, require in this case that a balancing exercise be performed to weigh the benefits of the proposed crematorium against its disadvantages. The scheme would make a contribution towards building a competitive economy and would provide local employment. However, only limited weight should be given the social benefits of the proposal insofar as it would provide accessible local services that reflect the community's needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being. In terms of the environmental dimension to sustainability, the scheme would not contribute to protecting and enhancing the natural environment. Furthermore, there is no convincing evidence that it would use natural resources prudently. Balancing these various roles, I find overall that the appeal scheme would not contribute to the achievement of sustainable development. I conclude, having regard to the policies in paragraphs 18 to 219, taken as a whole, that the proposal would not accord with the requirements for sustainable development set out in the Framework, and so the presumption in favour of such development in paragraph 14 does not apply." (paragraph [62])

(2) "I have found that the proposed development would harm the character and appearance of the area, and that no quantitative or qualitative need has been demonstrated to outweigh the harm I have identified. The proposal conflicts with the development plan, and is at odds with national policy and guidance. The planning balance here falls against the proposal." (paragraph [64])

(3) A fall-back scheme would be likely to result in less overall harm than would the appeal scheme, and so the fall-back position was not a consideration that weighed in favour of allowing the appeal (paragraph [67])

Click here for the decision.