New chapel for Westerleigh Crematorium given go-ahead
Published on: 01 Sep 2014
WESTERLEIGH Crematorium is set to be expanded after planners supported a scheme to build a second chapel and a bereavement hospitality suite.
A new 40-seat chapel is needed to accommodate an increasing number of services and to provide a more intimate area for smaller funerals.
The existing chapel can seat 90, with enough room for an even higher number of mourners to attend a service, but is sometimes too big for some families.
By having two chapels, those running the crematorium said they could also increase the time between funerals.
The Westerleigh Group, which operates the facility, said it was necessary to provide essential facilities, such as an indoor waiting room for grieving friends and relatives, and to ensure it could cope with the expected future increase in services.
Last year, Westerleigh handled 2,278 cremations but the group said current facilities were inadequate, with only a covered walkway for mourners to assemble and just a small waiting room that could not accommodate a large number of people in bad weather.
When the original consent for the crematorium was given in 1990, it was indicated that two chapels would eventually be needed, with the operators obliged to provide a second one when the number of cremations approached 2,500 a year.
Now, with planners coming out in favour of the project, it can go ahead as long as there are no objections from the Secretary of State.
The crematorium, which opened in 1992, is set in grounds that feature memorial gardens and a recently opened cemetery for both traditional and woodland burials.
But it is in the green belt and the Westerleigh Group had to show very special circumstances for the expansion to be allowed.
Westerleigh Parish council raised no objections and South Gloucestershire Council received more than 20 letters of support.
Pucklechurch Parish Council did not object overall but raised concerns about an increase in funeral traffic and a higher number of suppliers going through nearby village centres.
It also questioned the effect on local businesses, such as pubs, if wakes could be held at the crematorium.