Westleigh Group Ltd.
Wolverhampton Borough Council
Health, Education, and Community
Key Project Information
- This successful planning appeal has permitted two proposals for crematoriums in the Green Belt on the outskirts of Wolverhampton.
- In both cases, the harm to the Green Belt was outweighed by the need for new facilities, with the Minister concluding that there is an overall shortage of facilities across the West Midlands conurbation which is only likely to get worse.
This was a challenging project, particularly as during the lead up to the inquiry a crematorium in neighbouring authority Cannock Chase received consent and we therefore had to respond to changing circumstances. Ultimately, however, both consents being granted on appeal is good news, as they will provide modern facilities, offering choice of location and environment, to meet the needs of communities and improve mourner experiences.
Tony Bateman, Consultant – Pegasus Group
As part of the multidisciplinary team, we demonstrated the need for our client’s crematorium not just now but identified increasing pressure on facilities in the wider area into the future.
Following the public inquiry, the Inspector in his report to the Secretary of State concluded that there is a quantitative need for both appeals to relieve pressure on existing crematoria in the future and that only by granting permissions now will that need be met in a timely fashion.
In terms of the quality of experience, the Inspector considered that many of the existing crematoria in the region are ageing, in need of investment and updating, and at or reaching capacity and also that this will only get worse until rival facilities offer competition and so drive investment. As such, the Secretary of State agreed that existing crematoria do not serve different parts of the community as well as they ought to.
Overall, the Secretary of State identified there was substantial quantitative and qualitative need for both proposals, which he gave significant weight, and that this need amounts to very special circumstances, which weighed in favour of allowing the proposals in the Green Belt.