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PLANS to build a Crematorium near Caersws have been overwhelmingly backed by councillors.

But, the applicants will need to wait and see whether the application is “called in” by the Welsh Government before the decision can become a binding one.

Powys Crematorium Limited wants to build an all-new crematorium at a 13.66-hectare site north of the B4568 road at Ael Y Bryn between Caersws and Aberhafesp.

County councillor for Dolforwyn, Cllr Gareth Pugh (Conservative), is registered as the only company director for Powys Crematorium Limited on the Companies House website and had to leave the meeting while the application was discussed.

Over 30 objections had been made against the proposal and at the meeting David Evans and Kenneth Humphreys spoke against it.

Mr Evans said that following discussions with Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury crematoriums there was no “well evidenced need” for the facility as they were not being used to full capacity.

Mr Humphreys, said: “Put simply we cannot see that there is demand for this development.”

He believed that Machynlleth people would continue to go to the Aberystwyth crematorium and Welshpool people would use Shrewsbury and Llandrindod Wells people would go to Hereford.

Agent, Alan Southerby, said that the application meets “all technical requirements” and had not received any objections from statutory consultees.

He added that the proposal supported the most fundamental principle of sustainable transport which is reducing the need to travel.”

“People would not have to leave Powys to access services, this would reduce vehicle emissions,” said Mr Southerby.

He believed it would be an “exciting proposition for Powys.”

Cllr Jonathan Wilkinson said that when he had been a cabinet member responsible for cemeteries he had been “convinced” of a need for a crematorium.

Cllr Gareth Jones said: “If we go back to what the objectors say about need and having been in touch with the crematoriums who said there was no backlog.

“I’m sure members would agree it’s no surprise that a competitor would say that there wasn’t a need, because ultimately they will take away potential business.”

Cllr Jones told councillors that he had spoken to a local undertaker who had said there could be more than two weeks backlog for funerals at these crematoria.

He believed this identified the need.

Cllr Jones added: “It does help the mourning to be in such a tranquil place, this will benefit Powys.”

Cllr E Michael Jones said that he would have like to see distance and travel times to and from the various crematoria from Powys towns included in the report.

Cllr Jones said: “I don’t know whether the work has been done to show that people would use this other than the services that are available at this moment in time and it raises the question of need in my mind.”

Cllr Gwilym Williams asked how many extra jobs would the crematorium create?

Ms Bufton told him that there would be five staff would be present on site through the day.

Cllr Williams, said: “I can’t see a planning reason to turn this down, and I feel we should approve it.”

His motion was seconded by Cllr Gareth Jones.

The vote on the application was 17 in favour one against and one abstention.

A Spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “We can confirm ministers have been asked to call in an application for the construction of a new crematorium and green burial site.

“This request is currently under consideration and a decision will be made in due course.”

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