Controversial plans for to build a major housing development and crematorium near Horam have been approved by planners.
The crematorium plans, to be built on land south of Horam at Horeham Flat Farm in Chiddingly Road, had been put forward by Wealden District Council earlier this year and were approved at a meeting of its planning committee south today (Thursday, December 8).
In a separate application from developers Parker Dann, plans to build up to 123 houses on land at Rose Mead Farm in Horebeech Lane were also approved at the meeting.
Both proposals had proven controversial with local residents. The housing plans received 93 letters of objection from Horam residents while the crematorium plans received 25.
One resident described the developments as "Milton Keynes landing in the middle of a field near a small Sussex village."
Residents also set up an online petition objecting to both the crematorium plans and the separate housing application, which was signed by 125 people.
Wealden District Council say they aim to make the crematorium available for services five days a week, with a maximum of six services daily. They say this would allow for up to 1,500 cremations a year and "generate sustainable sources of income to reinvest in local priorities."
Speaking before the meeting, council leader Bob Standley laid out the plans for the crematorium site. He said: “One of our key aims is to allow an hour for every service so that loved ones can pay their respects in a proper manner. “By giving a longer time for each service, than many other crematoria, we are confident that there will be a more relaxed atmosphere at what is a difficult time for families.
“Through an understanding of modern design, we believe the Wealden crematorium will provide a dignified, compassionate facility which will serve people of all faiths and none.
“The Chapel and Flower Court will lead on to a landscaped Garden of Remembrance to provide a last resting place for the scattering of ashes for those who wish to take up this option. A Book of Remembrance, housed in an antechamber to the Chapel, will ensure they are not forgotten.”
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