2:00pm Monday 16th September 2013
By Emma Rigby
NORTHWICH could have its very own crematorium by as early as March after work began on the recently approved Vale Royal Crematorium.
Work has started this week to provide the town and surrounding area with a crematorium off Shurlach Lane, Davenham, after years of waiting.
The development – which is being built by Westerleigh Group and Frodsham-based Aspect Construction – is due to be finished by the end of February, with services expected to start as early as March.
Westerleigh applied to Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) to build the facility last year, with plans unanimously approved by the council’s strategic planning committee in April.
However, a number of technical issues and administrative omissions by the council meant the decision was legally flawed and Westerleigh had to seek approval again in August.
A turf-cutting ceremony to mark the start of the building work took place last Wednesday.
Richard Evans, Westerleigh’s managing director, told the Guardian that Aspect Construction were due to begin site set up this week.
He said: “We would expect that to be finished by February and for funerals to start taking place in March – that’s the typical build programme.
“It will be called Vale Royal Crematorium – that’s the right name. It has been 15 years since we started looking for a site so it really is one for Vale Royal – it is going to primarily serve Vale Royal, as well as Middlewich.
“Everyone knows it as Vale Royal so the name seems fitting.”
Mr Evans added: “We hope the parish council will see in time that this development won’t affect village life.
“The only funerals that will go through the village will be from Davenham, from St Wilfrids.”
Damian Dodgson, of Lostock Green-based Dodgson and Bell Funeral Service, attended Wednesday’s turf cutting with his father, Barri Dodgson.
He said: “We are very happy that this crematorium has go the go ahead because the area has needed a crematorium for many many years and it’s one that is going to service this area very well from what we have seen of the plans so we are very pleased.”
As well as providing a much-needed service to the area, Westerleigh’s scheme will also create four jobs, with apprenticeships also available.
Cheshire West and Chester clr Gaynor Sinar said: “I think it will be a big boost for local businesses.
“It would be great if someone who is out of work was able to get a job through this development.”
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