PLANS to build a new multi-million pound crematorium in countryside near Havant have come under attack.
Marge Harvey, the councillor for Rowlands Castle, has put forward a formal objection to The Southern Co-operative’s plans to build an eco-friendly crematorium in woodland off Bartons Road, Havant.
As previously reported in The News, the company says the crematorium will take the strain off facilities at Portchester and Chichester.
But Cllr Harvey says it will encroach on the green belt that is supposed to separate Rowlands Castle from Havant.
She is worried about the effect on ancient woodland and the increase in traffic along the rural routes.
Cllr Harvey said: ‘Rowlands Castle does not want to be looked on as part of Havant.
‘It never has and never will.
‘The crematorium is going to be built right next to ancient woodland.
‘Yes we do need one, but in the right place.
‘I don’t think that’s the right place.’
In her submission to East Hampshire District Council, she added: ‘It sits within the strategic gap.
‘The government inspector said in his report some time ago that this gap should be maintained and strengthened.
‘Any building there, in my opinion, will set a precedent.’
Plans have been submitted to East Hampshire District Council and Havant Borough Council as the development would sit on the authorities’ borders.
Wildlife experts at Natural England and Hampshire County Council have said the nearby woods are home to protected bats and great crested newts.
But they said there would be minimal impact on the species by the development.
Rowlands Castle Parish Council has not objected to the plans but wants to see a restriction imposed on funeral traffic travelling to the site via Whichers Gate Road.
The new building would measure 4,200sq ft, include an environmentally-friendly green roof, and be surrounded by a tranquil memorial garden and wildflower meadow.
Co-op bosses have assured people no trees would be chopped down.
A planning report by East Hampshire District Council states: ‘There is an indication of support for the proposal and it appears that the applicant has attempted to address concerns that have been have raised.’
A final decision will be made at a planning meeting to be held at a later date.