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Angus community wins 16-month fight against countryside crematorium plan

Ian Robertson, front, with fellow objectors at the Burnside of Duntrune site. Pic Dougie Nicolson/DCT Media.
Ian Robertson, front, with fellow objectors at the Burnside of Duntrune site. Pic Dougie Nicolson/DCT Media.

Rural Angus residents have won a 16-month planning fight to stop a crematorium being built on their doorstep.

Angus Council officials said a farmer’s plan for the Duntrune site breached local, regional and national planning policy.

And local objectors who spent £3,500 fighting the proposal hope it will be the end of their “worst nightmare”.

Angus farming firm F M & G Batchelor wanted to build the crematorium, car park and memorial garden on nearly two hectares of farmland east of Duntrune House, near Murroes.

Strong local opposition

But the proposal drew more than 700 objections.

Ian Robertson, who lives in a converted flat in the 19th Century mansion, led the campaign.

Locals feared a go-ahead for the project would be their “worst nightmare”.

Mr Robertson said: “We are naturally very happy to learn that planners have refused this application.

“There were 722 unique objectors, and just 84 supporters.”

And more than 450 of those who opposed the scheme lived within less than a mile-and-a-half of the site.

Ian Robertson with a plan of the proposed crematorium. Pic: Dougie Nicolson/DCT Media.

“It’s taken 16 months since we were first alerted to this, so it’s been a long fight,” he added.

“We had to employ external consultants to help us.

“And we have spent £3,500 on fees and publicity.

“So it’s been no small effort on the part of local residents.

“But the small positive out of all of it is that the community is very much more together now.”

He added: “We are not against businesses or people maximising their assets.

“But this was simply the wrong place for it.

“The road network around here is already stressed.

“So there is no way it could have taken the traffic which would have been generated.”

And opponents suggested the area is already adequately served by crematoria in Dundee and at Parkgrove, Friockheim.

“With applications of this nature it’s clear a compromise wasn’t possible,” continued Mr Robertson.

“We were always optimistic it would be refused under delegated powers.

“And we have three layers of policies the planning department say this doesn’t meet.

“We now hope the applicant will sit back, read the reasons for refusal and realise that’s the end of it.”

Reasons for refusal

Angus officials said the scheme breached Angus Council, TayPlan and Scottish planning policies.

They consider it would have resulted in an “unsustainable pattern of travel and development”.

And its location would put a reliance on mourners using private cars because of poor public transport links.

“The level of public transport provision is extremely limited,” stated the authority’s handling report.

“And it is unrealistic to imagine persons attending a funeral would reasonably be expected to rely on a school bus service that operates on school days, before and after school, and during term time only.

“There is no information to demonstrate there is an overriding need for the provision of a new crematorium on a site in the countryside that has poor accessibility.”

The applicant’s case

The family firm behind the idea said Duntrune had the potential to be one of the best crematorium sites in the UK.

Guthrie Batchelor at the Duntrune site. Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.

It was chosen for its peaceful setting surrounded by trees.

And it would have afforded spectacular views over the Tay estuary.

Applicant Guthrie Batchelor previously described it as a “cracking site”.

The firm has yet to comment on the refusal decision.

But it remains open to them to appeal the matter to Angus Council’s development management review committee.

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