Plans have been unveiled for a major new crematorium in Bierton carrying out around 1,000 funerals a year and to be serving the Vale as early as 2016.
The proposal for the site on Cane End Lane is being put forward by the Chilterns Crematorium Joint Committee.
The Chilterns Crematorium Joint Committee, which owns and operates the Chilterns Crematorium in Amersham on behalf of Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern and Wycombe District Councils, has signed an option agreement to purchase the land.
Councillor Mike Smith, chairman of the Chilterns Crematorium Joint Committee said: “The Chilterns Crematorium was opened in March 1966 and serves the local community well.
“With the population of Bucks growing, particularly in the Aylesbury area, it has become apparent over the last couple of years that there is a need for a new crematorium in the north of the County. We spent many years looking for a site and this one was found to be the most suitable.”
The site is in a mainly rural area off the A418 between the villages of Rowsham and Bierton – which is already set to have thousands of new homes built in the village.
Surveys of the land have started and will be followed by a pre-planning consultation during March to seek the views of local residents and their representatives on the proposed scheme.
The consultation will include an exhibition and drop-in sessions on Thursday 13 March at the Jubilee Hall, Aylesbury Road, Bierton from 3pm to 8pm. Letters with more details have been sent out to residents.
It is anticipated that the Chilterns Crematorium Joint Committee will put a planning application into Aylesbury Vale District Council in late spring/early summer.
Full details will be displayed at a pre-planning consultation event to be held at the Jubilee Hall in Bierton between 3pm and 8pm on Thursday, March 13.
Q&A WITH CHILTERNS CREMATORIUM JOINT COMMITTEE
1) Where is the new crematorium going to be built?
Off Cane End Lane north of Bierton close to the Hulcott crossroads junction with convenient access from the A418. The location is shown on the map below.
2. What is the Crematorium Committee?
The Chilterns Crematorium Committee runs the Chilterns Crematorium at Amersham which opened in 1966 and is a shared service provided jointly by Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern and Wycombe District Councils.
3. How is the design being agreed?
An architect was appointed who has worked closely with the officers and committee members responsible for the operation of the Chilterns Crematorium, together with advice from the local planning authority, to ensure a design which primarily meets the needs of the bereaved, is practical to operate and in harmony with its surroundings.
4. Why has this area been picked?
With a growing population the need for a crematorium in the Aylesbury area has been recognised for several years with a site on the northern side of the town considered the place which would best serve the majority of the population in relation to neighbouring crematoria. Many sites were looked at and the chosen site met the criteria.
5. How far away from the nearest properties will the crematorium be?
There is only one dwelling which overlooks the site and by law the crematorium building must be built at least 200 yards away from it.
6. Who is paying for the Aylesbury Crematorium?
The Chilterns Crematorium Joint Committee from within its own operating finances.
7. When will the construction work start?
During 2015 subject to planning permission being obtained and the final costs signed off.
8. When will the Aylesbury Crematorium start to operate?
9. What landscaping will be provided?
Landscaping is a major and critical part of the scheme. It will screen views of the building and car park from outside the site as well as helping to create a pleasant and peaceful environment within the site both for those attending funerals and visitors returning later to remember relatives and friends cremated there and where their ashes may have been scattered. Predominantly native trees and shrubs will be used and the overall theme will be low maintenance woodland and open parkland which will provide a better habitat for local flora and fauna compared to the current grass field.
10. What pollution will come out of the crematorium? Will there be smoke or smells?
Virtually none. Compared to even twenty years ago environmental protection legislation has drastically affected cremator design and operation which is now a fully filtered, closely monitored computerised process. The new crematorium will be fitted with the latest filtration system so there will be no smoke or smell.
A crematorium also has to be licensed to operate by the local environmental authority. The licence is renewed annually and environmental health officers periodically inspect the process as part of their regulatory responsibility.
11. Have local residents been consulted? When? Will resident’s comments be taken on board?
All local residents in Hulcott, Rowsham and Bierton have been written to advising them of the proposal and inviting them to a public exhibition where the plans will be on show and members of the project team available to answer questions.
12. What site surveys are being done?
As well as surveys relating to construction and use there will be surveys to asses any effect on the local environment, traffic and habitat and also landscape and visual impact. The findings will be taken into account in the layout, design and use of the site to help mitigate any detrimental aspects as far as possible.
13. Hours of operation?
Provisionally it is intended that funerals will be able to be booked at hourly intervals starting at 9am and finishing at 5pm (finishing at 1pm on Saturday mornings and no funerals on Sundays). This means theoretically up to eight funerals each day but it is estimated that initially the crematorium will carry out about 1,000 funerals each year which means on average between three and four a day. The outcome of the traffic survey may also inform a preference for delaying the start time to 10am to avoid any build-up of traffic on the busy A418 at peak hour.
14. How will traffic be managed?
Traffic management is a key issue for the Joint Committee project team and will be carefully considered during the planning process. There is a good turning into Cane End Lane off the A418 at the Hulcott crossroads which leads straight to the crematorium without passing any dwellings other than the one at the entrance. Signage will be erected on the A418 and when exiting the crematorium directing traffic to this junction and not through the village of Rowsham. Making the road into Rowsham a no through way is also currently being considered as an option.
15. What’s the catchment area for the crematorium?
The main catchment area will be Aylesbury and the villages immediately south of the town which currently use Chilterns Crematorium at Amersham and the villages in Aylesbury Vale to the north of the town as well as nearby Lindslade and Leighton Buzzard where the nearest crematorium is currently at Milton Keynes.
16. What parking facilities will be available?
Currently the proposal is to provide car parking for 120 cars which is considered to be the optimum for a facility of this size and expected use. There is a bus stop in both directions at the Hulcott crossroads and the possibility of constructing a footway along Cane End Lane to the site is an option being considered.
17. Can any faith use the crematorium?
Yes - any faith can use the crematorium and services can be religious, secular and it is possible to have a cremation only without a service.
18. Will there be scatterings in the surrounding woodland?
Yes. Commemoration will also be available to purchase but the form this will take has yet to be decided.
19. Will facilities be provided for pet cremation?
Currently it is not permissible to cremate pets in a cremator designed and licensed for human cremation which is covered by different environmental and regulatory legislation. Nationally there has been some discussion about the possibility but to date no crematorium has applied to do it and there are no plans to provide pet cremation at the Aylesbury Crematorium.
20. Will there be public access to the gardens?
Yes. The Chilterns Crematorium chapel and gardens of remembrance are opened 365 days each year and even when ‘closed’ the side gates are left unlocked for pedestrian only access to the gardens. The intention is to provide the same access at Aylesbury Crematorium.
21.Is there a discount for local residents?
No. The Chilterns Crematorium is a publicly owned and operated facility and all users pay the same fee. The same policy will apply at the Aylesbury Crematorium. Historically services provided by the Joint Committee have been less expensive than private operators.
22. Has potential flooding of the area been considered?
This has been checked and the site is not on a floodplain or susceptible to flooding.
23. What sustainable features will be included in the build and operation of the facility?
Aspects being considered or used at sites already: The cremators to be operated efficiently throughout the day under national guidance
Metals recovered from the cremation process (artificial hip and knee joints, etc., and metals used in the construction of coffins) are recycled through a national recycling scheme run by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management and the surplus after running costs is donated to ‘bereavement related’ charities. The scheme has been running for about seven years and over £1M has now been donated to charity. Many sites use heat removed from the waste gases as part of the filtration process to heat the building. Floral tributes are composted on site which is used in the upkeep of the gardens. Plastic, the majority of which comes from the floral tributes, is recycled. Solar Photovoltaic electricity generation. Natural heating and cooling / ventilation
24. Will there be a burial ground?
No this site will not be used for burials.
25. What about noise from the crematorium?
This will be taken into account in the design of the building but in fact the noise level will be very low.
26. What highway improvements are going to be implemented?
This will be detailed during the further planning process with the Highway Authority being a statutory consultee.
27. What will the impact on wildlife be?
Full consideration on the impact on wildlife will be given. Predominantly native trees and shrubs will be used and the overall theme will be low maintenance woodland and open parkland which will provide a better habitat for local flora and fauna compared to the current grass field.