New deadline for £6m crematorium decision 

Artist's impression of Mepal crematorium. 

Artist's impression of Mepal crematorium. - Credit: ECDC

East Cambridgeshire District Council has, again, been obliged to postpone a decision on building a crematorium on the site of the former outdoor centre at Mepal. 

Planning manager Rebecca Saunt says the latest target date for a decision had been June 13.  

“Whilst every endeavour has been made to reach a decision within the statutory time, unfortunately this will not be possible,” she says in a letter published on the council’s website. 

Rebecca is hopeful of a new deadline of a decision by September 9 is possible. 

She says the reasons for the time extension is to “allow full assessment of the application". 

The council wants to build a crematorium at Mepal together with “administration building, function building, memorial garden, natural burial areas, pet cemetery and car parking”. 

It plans for a new vehicular access from the A142 north of the site. 

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Recent comments from the Environment Agency says although it has received an updated groundwater risk assessment, more information is needed. 

It has asked for the following: 

1: Supporting data/explanations for the estimate of 20 burials per year, and confirmation as to whether there will be any additional ash interments  

2: Logs for all groundwater monitoring boreholes showing details of the design/construction and of the strata encountered.  

3: Full details of the groundwater elevation monitoring (including dates of measurements) and an appraisal of the site-specific groundwater flow direction based upon these data.  

The Environment Agency says that once they have the additional information “we can determine the appropriate response to the proposals”. 

Cambridgeshire County Council, the lead flood authority, says it is now happy with the crematorium proposals. 

It has reviewed flood risk assessments and drainage strategy and have on objections “in principle”. 

The county council says information provided to them “demonstrate that surface water from the proposed development can be managed through the use of cellular storage crates discharging via infiltration, or if proven unviable, restricting to QBAR” 

QBAR is short for qbarrural which is the mean annual flood flow from a rural catchment. 

When a final paper is produced by East Cambs planners it will assess some of the issues raised during the consultation period.  

It will also include a response to Fenland Council who raised questions about the need for a new crematorium. 

It will be less than 10 miles from March, where a crematorium opened 12 years ago.