Councillors have spoken of their delight after plans to build a crematorium – which they feared could spark a return of sex acts on an access road – were blocked.
Durham County Council’s County Planning Committee blocked an application by Dignity for the crematorium, on land near the old brewery in Castle Eden. This was despite the plans being recommended for approval.
The Star reported last month that residents had raised fears that re-opening the road, known as the Old A19, would lead to a return of “dogging”, the act of watching or engaging in exhibitionist sexual activity and other anti-social behaviour, including fly-tipping.
Durham County Councillor for Blackhall, which includes Castle Eden, Rob Crute spoke against the plans, alongside fellow county councillor Lynn Pounder and Barry Turnbull from Castle Eden Parish Council and resident Phil Barclay.
Coun Crute said: “We overturned the officer’s recommendation.
“I’m delighted because we didn’t think it should ever have gone that far.
“We thought it was wrong and we proved it.”
Coun Crute said councillors on the committee felt that the crematorium brought know community benefit and no local amenity.
He added: “We really focused on the issue of anti-social behaviour on the access road and we felt that by lifting the traffic prohibition order on the road these problems would return. There would have needed to have been a lot of community support to lift that order.
“The main point we drove home was there was no community support for it.”
Coun Crute said the plans had received 125 letters of objection and 120-signatures on two petitions against the scheme.
He also sighted mourners potentially being hit by golfballs from the nearby Castle Eden Golf Club as a reason for objection and the village being a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) also meant it was not appropriate for a crematorium.