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Major plans revealed for new Cannock Chase crematorium

By Tom Oakley | Cannock Chase | Property | Published:

Multi-million pound new plans for a crematorium in Cannock Chase have been unveiled – as the council lines up another one right next door.

The new cemetery could be built on land south east of Five Ways Island, close to Heath Hayes.

Under the proposals by Horizon Cremation, the crematorium would be a one-storey building and include a chapel for 90 people as well as 70 car parking spaces.

It comes as Cannock Chase Council chiefs this week told the Express & Star of separate plans for a crematorium on land next to it – a site where the council already has planning permission to build a cemetery.

The council purchased the piece of land – to the south of Horizon’s project – and was given the go ahead for a cemetery offering up to 5,000 burials annually.

Now the council’s managing director Tony McGovern has revealed the authority want to build a crematorium as well as a cemetery on the site.

It says they would look to secure outline planning permission before forming a partnership with a private company who would help fund and ‘potentially’ run the service.

London-based Horizon Cremation, says the plans for its project is designed to echo the industrial heritage of the area and fit into the 12-acre countryside site.

It would include memorial gardens and areas for contemplation.

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Stephen Byfield, a director of Horizon Cremation, said he had been made aware of the council’s proposals and that the two party’s were talking.

“We want to build a beautiful facility for people in and around Cannock,” said Mr Byfield.

“There’s no doubt this is needed and we are hoping that to get lots of feedback from local people during this consultation period so the building ends up as one everyone can be proud of. They have been working at their project at the same time. Our site is basically the same. We control the northern part and they own the southern part.

“We’re in a situation now where we’re both aware of each other. The good news about this is that it does agree that one is needed in the area. Our doors are absolutely open and we are talking with them already.” Horizon say it is building the crematorium to serve a local need – with there being no current crematoria in the Cannock Chase district.

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The company says most Cannock people are forced to travel to Stafford Crematorium or to Bushbury in Wolverhampton, or Streetly, near Walsall.

Council managing director Mr McGovern said the council would look to get a planning application submitted this year – before recruiting a partner in 2019.

He said: “We purchased the site on the border of Cannock and Norton Canes where we’ve got planning consent for a cemetery.

“What’s developed more recently is that the ambition of the council is to explore if we can have both a cemetery and a crematorium.

“Our preferred option is to basically submit an outline planning application for a crematorium on the site that we’ve purchased.

“The second thing we will do is go out into the market and advertise for a partner to work with us in order to deliver the cemetery and crematorium together. That partner might bring some additional funding as we don’t have the resources to build it at the moment.

“There is also the potential that they would run the crematorium for us.”

Horizon is holding a public exhibition on the proposals at Norton Canes Library on three days next week.

They will take place on Thursday from 5pm to 7pm, Friday from 1.30pm to 6pm and on Saturday between 10am and 1pm.

Mr Byfield added: “These are long drives to the other crematoriums, particularly at the speed of a funeral cortege, and all three crematoria are struggling to cope with the number of people using them.

“In busy months, grieving families often wait three or four weeks – sometimes more – for a funeral service.”

More details about Horizon’s plans can also be found at www.cannockcrematorium.co.uk

Tom Oakley

By Tom Oakley
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist

Express & Star reporter responsible for covering Walsall and Staffordshire. Got a story? Email tom.oakley@expressandstar.co.uk or call 01902 319482.

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