A NEW crematorium will be built to ease the pressure on the one at Portchester.
Councillors at East Hampshire District Council’s planning meeting last voted unanimously to allowing the Southern Co-operative to build a new crematorium in woods off Bartons Road, Havant.
It was given the go-ahead despite Rowlands Castle councillor Marge Harvey’s fears that allowing the plans would set a precedent for building on green areas known as local gaps which provide natural barriers between towns.
But the meeting heard from planning officer Chris Murray who said under planning law local gaps can be built on provided there is an overwhelming and overriding need for a new facility.
Mr Murray said: ‘The policies on gaps are there for very specific reasons – to stop one settlement merging into another.
‘But we have a specific policy that does make a clear exception for this type of use in the countryside. In my opinion this does not set a precedent.’
The design of the spiral-shaped building was praised.
It will be in a dip meaning only the top of it will be visible from Bartons Road.
The top will be covered in natural grass.
Councillor John Pickering, chairman of Rowlands Castle Parish Council, said there was an overwhelming need for another crematorium between Portchester and Chichester, which are both near to capacity.
He said: ‘The length of services is constrained by the intensity of use.
‘There are likely to be savings and lower costs for funeral directors and clergy who use the new site.
‘And we reject the idea that it will set a precedent.
‘We believe the development is more likely to preserve the gap against other types of development.
‘No trees will be cut down, new trees will be planted.’
And Cllr David Newberry added: ‘Sadly I have been to both Portchester and Chichester crematoriums recently and because they are so heavily used they were not very nice experiences for the mourners.
‘I think the new crematorium will make it a much more sensitive experience.’
The 4,200sq ft building will be surrounded by a memorial garden, a wild flower meadow and a copse for mourners to plant trees for loved ones.
Because the land also straddles part of Havant the borough council will also have to take a decision on plans for the access road, from Bartons Road.
That decision is expected to be taken in the next couple of months.