Published: 16:23, 16 June 2021
| Updated: 16:57, 16 June 2021
Kent residents who have lost their lives will be inspected with more "dignity" as a modernised digital autopsy facility is created in the county.
Kent County Council (KCC) will convert a former MOT and vehicle services workshop at County Transport Workshops near Forstal Road and Beddow Way as a base to carry out virtual post-mortems.
Whilst a traditional autopsy can take up to four hours, digital scanning takes just over three minutes to complete, according to the county council.
The approach would be more "sensitive", high-tech and more cost-effective.
The £3million plans were approved by KCC's planning committee during a hybrid meeting at County Hall, in Sessions House, Maidstone earlier today.
Swale county councillor Andy Booth (Con), the panel's vice-chairman, described the move as "extremely important".
Cllr Booth, of Sheppey, told the planning committee: "It is sensitive, but an essential application. We know what it is for and what it is all about.
"The residents in Aylesford have embraced this in good nature."
The new building will provide a main body storage area, CT scanner and a viewing room for visitors. There will also be a car park with seven spaces.
The scanner is used to map the body’s organs and the data is then processed to create a 3D, whole body reconstruction, from where standard analysis can be carried out.
Families will be allowed to visit to identify the deceased from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
"It is sensitive, but an essential application. We know what it is for and what it is all about..."
Meanwhile, bodies will be transferred and released 24-hours a day and seven days a week.
In addition, more space has been provided for temporary chilled body storage units if demand increases.
At today's meeting, a report read to the committee said: "As well as being a much more sensitive procedure affording greater dignity, the process is substantially quicker.
"It would address the decline in the number of trained pathologists in the region (and nationally) who are willing and trained to perform invasive post mortem examinations."
No concerns were raised by Maidstone Borough Council, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council and Aylesford Parish Council.
However, four objections were received from residents over traffic and the impact on their homes.
KCC, the applicant, agreed to introduce 'No Entry' and 'Access for Residents Only' road signs at Beddow Way to inform drivers not to use it as a cut through.
Cllr Alan Marsh (Con), KCC's planning committee chairman, called on the panel to support the proposals, which received unanimous approval from the 13 members.