A proposal to drive a road through part of Perth Crematorium grounds where hundreds of people’s ashes have been scattered is causing “distress and anger” to the bereaved, according to an MP.
Thousands of people have now objected to the proposal, with Gordon Banks, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, now adding his voice to the call for the road to be rerouted.
“There is now significant community unrest and distress with this plan that will be seen by many to abuse the memory and final resting place of their loved ones,” the MP said in a letter to Perth and Kinross Council chief executive Bernadette Malone.
He said he had been contacted by Luncarty, Redgorton and Moneydie Community Council about the construction of the A9/A85 relief road.
“It has become apparent in recent days that there is considerable community resistance to this development being completed at the expense of what is deemed to be an integral part of the crematorium grounds,” Mr Banks said.
“I am advised that there are many examples of ashes being scattered in the area due for development, especially as it has an immediate proximity to McDiarmid Park, and that as a result this area is fundamental to people’s memories of their loved ones.
“It is also considered by many that the use of any land from the crematorium complex is a betrayal of trust and lacks feeling and consideration. It has been stated to me that the project would destroy the peace and ambiance of the crematorium and that this is a step too far.”
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Requesting details of the costs and funding of the £30 million-plus project in his letter, Mr Banks asks for a reassurance the proposed route has not been chosen simply as it is the cheapest option as the crematorium land is in council ownership.
He asks if this is the only route the council are promoting and urges “the reconsideration of matters to allay the distress and anger being felt by many people in the area”.
The council said the plan does not impact on the formal Garden of Remembrance and, in an effort to allay concerns, has issued a map of the project showing how the new link road will, at most, cut about 13 yards from the edge of the crematorium grounds.
Only four memorials are directly affected, it said, and no material would be removed from the site.
The council also maintained a better boundary wall would replace the fence at the McDiarmid Park side, improving the area and cutting down on antisocial behaviour.
Despite the assurances the plan has angered many as more than 2,000 people have signed the online petition Save Perth Crematorium.
Among the comments left on the petition are many explaining the personal nature of their objections.
“My husband and I have a personal interest as in 1976 we arranged for the ashes of our baby daughter to be scattered in the bluebell area,” wrote one person.
“This might seem like a long time ago but to use it seems like yesterday. We certainly did not expect that the area might have a road built through it in our lifetime.”
Another signatory said it was “sacred ground” and they did not believe that if it was a graveyard that the road would have even have been suggested.
“The council should be ashamed of themselves even considering this proposal,” they said.
Another wrote: “This is too important to so many people who have loved ones scattered in the garden.””