Plans for a crematorium and burial space on the outskirts of Alsager look to be scuppered after a private meeting between funeral directors and nearby residents ended in a stalemate.
Last year, the Chronicle reported that Alsager undertakers Joseph Edwards and Sons said there would be “uproar” when the town ran out of burial space in a few years’ time because the nearest alternatives will be Macclesfield, Congleton or Crewe.
Another funeral directors, IvyMay (Cheshire), based in Sandbach, has been considering land on Cherry Lane at Lawton Heat End, near The Horseshoe Inn, for a crematorium, interment of ashes and burial space.
James Byatt, of IvyMay, and his planning consultant met residents who live closest to the site at The Civic, Alsager, on Thursday but said his plans would go no further due to their opposition.
Speaking to the Chronicle this week, Mr Byatt conceded that without residents’ approval the proposal would not go ahead – and warned that there would not be another burial site in or around Alsager.
He said: “If I wasn’t to do this and instead looked elsewhere, then I very much doubt there would be anything in the local area.
”Odd Rode Parish Church is closed now and has no burial space. People in Scholar Green are in Odd Rode and they can’t get buried there. It’s sad, it’s really sad.”
Mr Byatt added: “In regards to the crematorium, nothing is happening there, a crematorium can’t be built within 200m of a property if a family doesn’t want it there.
We’re trying to find funding for what we are trying to do. It’s not like we’re saying ‘this is what’s going to happen’, it’s not like that.”
But he stressed “there is a huge need locally for this” and added: “If we don’t do this, nobody will so it’s either going to be a private company or nothing at all – and we’re certainly not here to make things more expensive for people.”
Of Thursday’s meeting he said: “We were trying to explain to residents the benefits of having it there and they were saying that they don’t want it there and that’s fine, I can understand that, but it was just purely an idea to find a way of funding the burial site, which is the primary goal.
“We have nowhere else we could go in our local area. We have looked at various sites and locations in the area and so has the council. It is very, very difficult to locate these places.”
The need for a burial site in Alsager is mentioned in the town’s neighbourhood plan.
One of the residents at Thursday’s meeting was 64-year-old Stefan Nowicki, who has lived on Cherry Lane for 34 years.
He said: “They said this is the ideal location. It might be ideal for them but not for Church Lawton.
“They could build it off the A50 by the waterworks at the bottom of Cherry Lane but they said it would cost a lot more money. It’s just a money-making exercise, people being greedy and profiteering off dead people.”