COUNCILLORS are expected to approve plans for a new crematorium next week – despite fears an access road will became a sex acts hot-spot.
The Mail reported last month that residents fear that the road, known as the Old A19, at Castle Eden, could again be a focus of “dogging”, if the plans went ahead.
Dogging is the act of watching or engaging in exhibitionist sexual activity in public and the road was closed under an emergency traffic prohibition in 2011.
Developers Dignity want to build a crematorium on a 2.19-hectare site north of the former Castle Eden Brewery that would also incorporate a 106-seat chapel, crematorium, office and reception.
Castle Eden Parish Council and the Castle Eden Residents’ group have objected to the plans and 120 letters of objection, and a 50-signature petition have been received.
The residents’ group appeared in the Mail saying they feared dogging would return.
But Dignity say the fears are unsubstantiated as the lane will still be blocked, with plans to open just the first 240ft of the road, and there will be new street lighting and CCTV.
The plans are recommended for approval and will be discussed at a Durham County Council County Planning Committee meeting, to be held on April 1, at 2pm, at County Hall.
In a report to the meeting, Durham Police’s traffic department say: “Whilst it is acknowledged that anti-social behaviour has been significantly reduced as a result of a lockable barrier being erected at the entrance to the unclassified road, its relocation to a point just beyond the proposed crematorium entrance is not opposed, as it is the view of the police that the increased legitimate use of an improved section of this road should help dissuade such behaviour.
“However, it is suggested that shrubbery at the entrance to the lane should be pruned back to open views as a further deterrent.”