Parents object to plans

PARENTS in Whimple are angry over plans to build a crematorium near a nursery.

PARENTS in Whimple are angry over plans to build a crematorium near a nursery.Planners are meeting on Friday (May 15) to reach a decision on proposals by Mercia Crematoria Developments, which anticipates holding 26 cremations a week - within walking distance of Apple Day Blossom Nursery.East Devon District Council has received 32 letters of objection and the parish council has recommended refusal.Honiton shop owner Neil Loomes has a two-year-old son at the nursery and urged objectors to speak out at the meeting.He said: "I am really angry with the plans. This site is totally unsuitable. I do not want my son having to see funeral processions all day long."It is not clear why a crematorium wasn't included in the recent Cranbrook plans, where a more suitable site with better transport links could have been found instead of building on agricultural land."Nursery owner Kay Winson said: "There are nearly 100 children here and there's concern that coffins and hearses passing every 30 minutes during the day will be psychologically damaging for them."I don't think it's myself or my staff's place to inform the children about death - and they do ask questions. We would need training to be able to handle it correctly."I would like the emissions to be more eco-friendly. The children often go out in the play area and that would be harmful for them as well."The building, which would be located at land East of Piccadily Copse, Strete Ralegh, would also provide car parking for 55 cars.Rebecca Dawkins, 31, who has a two-year-old son at the nursery, said the plan was a deviation for EDDC's normal policy on agricultural land.She added: "They say because it is not a domestic property there is no legislation saying how close the site can be. But this annoys me because the children are there as long as they would be in a domestic house."The letters of objection also highlighted other concerns, such as the loss of local habitat, increase in traffic and the possibility of extra flooding.The proposal was recommended for refusal by planning officers but councillors agreed to inspect the site on Friday, before making a decision at the planninginspections committee the same day.A spokesman for EDDC said: "We are aware of opposition from the neighbouring day nursery, but some of the grounds put forward by these objectors are not valid reasons to refuse in planning terms."He said the proposal was objected to because of 'sporadic and unjustified development in an area remote from any settlement,' and potential harm to the ecology and archaeology of the site.The public planning meeting is at EDDC offices, Knowle, Sidmouth, at 4pm.