A council plan to fell an avenue of mature trees and woodland screening Perth Crematorium has been branded “desecration”.
The route of a controversial link road running between the crematorium and McDiarmid Park will be decided today by councillors.
It has emerged that not only will scattered ashes be disturbed but dozens of trees could be axed if the plan gets the green light.
The move could also mean the loss of St Johnstone’s training pitch and team manager Tommy Wright said it would put the club especially its youth set-up back by years.
In another twist to one of the most hotly debated planning applications in recent years, it emerged that council leader Ian Miller is the subject of a complaint to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland (CESPLS) over comments he made during a television interview.
Objectors claim he misled the public with his comments which were aired last month.
They took issue with Councillor Miller saying during the interview: “I want to stress that this road doesn’t in any way run through the crematorium grounds.
“It merely skirts the crematorium and there will be minimal impact on the crematorium.”
A spokesperson for one group of objectors said: “This statement has misled the public into believing that the road does not go through the crematorium grounds.
“Not only is it clear that the road passes through the grounds but the current tree-lined access drive from the main gate on Crieff road to the crematorium will be turned into a main carriageway resulting in the felling of all the mature trees currently lining the attractive entrance route.
“Further complete removal of a woodland strip of mature trees which currently provide the only screening at the boundary with McDiarmid Park is proposed.
“As if this is not enough of a desecration, Perth and Kinross Council want several interred remains and monuments dug-up and relocated.”
The council said that it was “not appropriate” to discuss the matter at this stage.
Councillor Alexander Stewart said that it appeared to him that the administration was prepared to “bulldoze” through objections to the loss of trees and the impact on scattered ashes.
“I made it quite clear that I understood the value of the project and the benefits it will bring to the Perth area and its population but I cannot ignore the depth of feeling which has been expressed by individuals and organisations regarding the proximity of the project to the Garden of Remembrance located at the crematorium,” he said.
“Hundreds have made objections and thousands have signed online petitions.
“This shows the SNP administration’s contempt for partnership working and community empowerment; despite promoting these values, when it comes to the crunch they are quite happy to ignore them and bulldoze their proposals through.”
He claimed the proposed route could have “an immense impact on the landscape, with particular effect on mature trees that lie alongside the boundary of the Garden of Remembrance and McDiarmid Park.”
Mr Stewart said the council stance on trees under threat was “vague” but maintained any alterations made to protect the trees and woodland was “a price worth paying”.
On the eve of the meeting MP Gordon Banks called for a last-minute rethink.
“Given the deep feelings and resistance of constituents against these proposals, Perth and Kinross Council need to work on presenting an alternative solution which does not impact on the crematorium.”