TRAFFIC congestion and loss of ancient forest were among the concerns at a public consultation about plans for a new crematorium.
Proposals for the multi-million pound crematorium went on display yesterday at Havant and Waterlooville Football Club.
As reported in The News, The Southern Co-operative wants to build a state-of-the-art facility off Bartons Road, Havant.
The overwhelming message was that the facility is needed to take the strain off Portchester Crematorium – the busiest crematorium in England.
But there were concerns about rural roads, particularly the B2148 and B2149, becoming congested, and about parts of the ancient Forest of Bere being affected.
Marge Harvey, the councillor for Rowlands Castle, said: ‘It’s definitely needed in this area, there’s no doubt about that. The ancient woodland, that’s the most important thing.
‘It’s been there for many, many years and they say it won’t affect it, but it bothers me that if you put a building in, it could affect the root system of the trees.’
Penny Tiller, 30, of Hedge End Walk, West Leigh, said: ‘My personal view is it’s something that’s needed and required. I have been to a couple of funerals and they have been really rushed. You feel like you are being pushed out of the door.
‘We lost our son two years ago and I am not sure that explaining to children that you live by a crematorium would go down so well. But from what I can see they have done everything to make sure you can’t see it.’
Barbara Barrell, 62, from Rowlands Castle, added: ‘I’m really impressed.’
The new building would measure about 4,200sq ft, include an environmentally-friendly green roof, and be surrounded by a tranquil memorial garden and a wildflower meadow.
The crematorium would be surrounded by woodland on three sides and company bosses have assured people no trees would be chopped down and, in fact, more would be planted.
There will also be no noticeable emissions from the 6ft-tall chimney.
The woodland is home to the rare Bechstein’s bat, but officials have said they are working with conservationists to minimise any impact to the creature’s habitat.
Graham Lymn, head of operations at The Southern Co-operative, said the firm was planning up to five funerals each day, with each service lasting 45 minutes.
He said: ‘The current facilities that are available for bereaved families are very busy, and families have to wait some time for funerals.
‘There’s a lot of congestion up there. This will help alleviate that.’