BURIAL PLOTS: Planning permission granted for Sandwell Valley Crematorium
Thousands of “much-needed” burial plots in West Bromwich will be created at a crematorium to meet increasing demand.
Unused agricultural land next to Sandwell Valley Crematorium on Newton Road will be converted into a cemetery that will provide an additional 3,000 plots for the borough.
Planning permission was granted back in February but it needed full council approval as the designated land is classed as a green belt and this was unanimously agreed on Tuesday (March 23).
In the authority’s planning application, there was an urgent need for more plots in the north of the borough with Heath Lane Cemetery expected to be left with no room for new burials by 2024, at the current rate.
It added the council has spent more than £4 million on improvements at Sandwell Valley in the last decade and this would further enhance the facility.
Councillor Danny Millard, cabinet member for inclusive economic growth, said: “The planning application has been granted on February 10.
“However the site is allocated as green belt and as such the application is considered a departure from adopted policy and must be referred to full council.
“Whilst the proposed development is a departure, Government guidance is developments such as cemeteries is deemed as acceptable on green belt land.
“A total of 3,000 plots will be created to provide much needed burial space within the borough. The planning application attracted no objections.
“The land isn’t used at present and it is of poor agricultural value. There aren’t going to be any buildings as they will use the ones next door. It would add to the landscape.”
Councillor Liam Preece, whose ward is near the crematorium, said: The land is currently used for agricultural purposes by the council and to my understanding isn’t very accessible to the public to use as green space or leisure.
“I think this proposal would enhance an already much loved community asset in the crematorium and make that green space for local residents and more aesthetically pleasing.”
Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter
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