Published: 09:46, 27 November 2020
| Updated: 11:18, 27 November 2020
Plans to build a town’s first crematorium have been revealed – as developers claim it will prevent grieving families from travelling miles to lay loved ones to rest.
Firm Westerleigh Group is set to submit proposals to Canterbury City Council to construct the building on a 14-acre plot off Bullockstone Road, Herne Bay.
It will include a 98-seat chapel, waiting room and crematory, while the rest of the site will be used for parking and converted into memorial gardens.
It is hoped the bid, if given the green light, will stop mourners from having to make lengthy journeys to attend services.
Herne Bay priest Rev Dennis Barlow said: “Most of the services are at Barham at the moment, and it takes 40 minutes to get there.
“There’s no public transport that takes you there [from Herne Bay] directly - if you don’t have a car, it’s a job to get to Barham.
"We do need one locally, we really do. It’s a nightmare for people to get to some of these places.”
Rev Barlow says he has led services at Barham that mourners were unable to attend because they could not arrange transport.
Westerleigh Group, which runs 34 sites nationwide, says the scheme will reduce funeral capacity issues currently affecting residents in the Canterbury, Thanet and Dover districts.
It also insists the designs will be in-keeping with the area, as it will also use modern technologies to minimise its carbon footprint.
CEO Roger Mclaughlan said: “There is a compelling need for additional crematoria capacity in this area.
“The proposed crematorium would, for the first time, also provide services within a 30-minute cortege drive for at least 90,000 people.
“Not only will the new facility provide local communities with the same level of exceptional care and empathy as our existing sites in Barham and Charing, but it will also be provided at a significantly reduced travel time for many families.”
Westerleigh Group has already written to about 300 residents, businesses and stakeholders to outline the project.
The firm also says it has spoken to funeral directors “who have confirmed the strong need for a new crematorium in the Herne Bay area”.
It expects its application to be lodged with the city council in the coming weeks.
“The crematorium has been designed in a manner that will allow it to gently settle into the landscape in a quiet and tranquil setting,” Mr Mclaughlan added.