Crematorium to serve East Leeds area
About the Development
Following refusal of the previous planning application for a new crematorium to serve East Leeds in 2019, Westerleigh Group are submitting a revised planning application for a crematorium at the same location. The new application includes revised development proposals for the site, addressing concerns raised in the original application and providing further needs evidence to demonstrate the compelling need for a new crematorium.
The site is situated on the eastern side of Leeds, circa 10km (6.2 miles) east of Leeds city centre and located off Long Lane, just to the north of Garforth and south of Barwick in Elmet.
The sites locations allows for easy access to the strategic road network serving Leeds and the surrounding areas, including the M1, A1 (M), A64 and the new East Leeds Orbital Road. The location of the site, within the greenbelt between Garforth and Barwick in Elmet, provides a semi-rural setting and tranquil environment for the siting of a new crematorium.
Whilst in the greenbelt, the site has previously been developed and is currently used as a golf driving range with supporting facilities. The site is bounded by Hillside Farm and associated buildings to the north, Long lane to the East and the shorter boundary with Garforth Golf Club to the south.
The site is fortunate in that it already has a strong landscape structure and is visually contained with a mature belt of trees along the site’s eastern boundary with Long Lane and southern boundary with Garforth Golf Club.
The development proposals entail the removal of the existing driving range buildings, paved entrance road and hardstanding’s to the north of the site. The introduction of a crematorium building and its associated parking area, are at the southernmost end of the Site.
The re-positioning of crematorium building from the middle of the site to the southern end of the site is to address the concerns that the previous proposal was (unlike the existing golf driving range buildings, which was seen in the context of built development at Hillside Farm) viewed as a free standing development encroaching into the Countryside.
In the re-positioned location, the crematorium and the associated car park will sit alongside, and relate to, the adjacent, much larger (footprints and height) golf course buildings.
In terms of the building, the proposed traditional materials, colours and form of the buildings are similar to the original application and designed to be complementary to the local vernacular.
As with the original application the proposed built form of the crematorium will be significantly smaller than the existing built form of the golf range and associated buildings.
The memorial landscape would occupy the central and northern part of the site, where the driving range building and range are currently sited. The proposed landscape strategy builds on the site’s existing visual containment. A wide belt of structure planting will be introduced around the western and northern boundary together, with existing planting around the site’s eastern and southern boundaries reinforced with holly and hawthorn understorey planting amongst the existing tree-belt. This planting would thicken up the lower understorey area and screen out any existing filtered lower level winter views into the site.
The Crematorium is sited in the southern section of the site, utilising the widest part of the site to allow for building, carparking and circulation space. The remainder of the site is then opened up for use as memorial gardens and a place of reflection.
The building will be a modestly sized single storey building of only 557 m2 and will house a 98-seat chapel; a waiting room; accessible public toilets; administrative offices and crematory.
Every last detail of the build and landscaping has been designed in such a way that allows family and friends to pay their last respects in a dignified and peaceful way.
Access and Traffic
As with the previous application, access to the site would be provided at a new priority junction off Long Lane some 200m south of the existing golf driving range access and some 140m north of the Garforth Golf Club access. A total of some 99 car parking spaces are proposed on the site, including an additional overflow provision.
As almost all funerals (around 95%) start from between 10:30 am and 3:30pm Monday to Friday. The core operating hours of the crematorium would be outside of the local road network peak hours of 08:00-09:00 and 17:00-18:00. This means that there would be no cortege or mourner vehicle movements to the site in the local traffic peak hours. The crematorium would not therefore conflict with or add to rush hour traffic in the area.
Funerals will be at intervals of 1 hour, allowing plenty of time for family and friends to arrive and leave without crossing with other funeral parties.
In addition, the proposed crematorium development would reduce the level of daily vehicle movements when compared to the existing driving range by some 30% and reduce the impact in the highway network peaks. Traffic would also reduce in the weekday evenings and on weekends because the crematorium would not operate at these times. This is a net benefit to traffic and safety conditions on the local and wider road network.
A new bus stop would be provided on Long Lane between the proposed crematorium access and the existing access to Garforth Golf Club, along with a new section of footpath. This would serve existing bus services operating on Long Lane past the site.
The crematorium would include the most advanced filtration and abatement equipment available, which results in a clean to air process. This means there would be no smoke or odours from the chimney. Westerleigh prides itself in meeting, and going beyond, the stringent environmental regulations that are in place.
As with the previous application, the removal of the existing floodlights will remove the light pollution associated with the existing use of the site, leading to an overall positive impact on the local visual landscape and local ecology.
Need for an additional Crematorium
There is a compelling need for a new crematorium to serve East Leeds and provide additional capacity to serve both the current and future needs of the City of Leeds overall.
Existing funeral delays arising from the lack of available capacity at the busiest times of the year are already distressing for families and will only get worse as demand increases significantly over the next 20 years from a rising and ageing population.
For residents living to the east of Leeds such delays are compounded by unacceptable long journey times to reach the existing crematoria.
The proposed East Leeds crematorium will provide much needed additional capacity to meet existing and increased future demand, it will also be the closest facility for over 140,000 people and over 80,000 of those will be within a 30 minute cortege drive time for the first time.
Benefits and Feedback
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