A PUBLIC meeting is being organised following the submission of fresh plans to build a crematorium near homes in the New Forest.

The Bristol-based Westerleigh Group has applied for permission to construct a single-chapel facility on farmland off Stem Lane in New Milton.

Westerleigh has drawn up proposals for a 130-seat building which will hold about 1,200 services a year.

An outline application for a crematorium on the same site was approved by the district council three years ago - despite sparking more than 500 objections.

Now a revised scheme has been submitted to the authority.

New Forest Post:

New Milton Town Council is expecting “high interest” in the proposal and is holding a public meeting at the Memorial Centre on November 21.

The new application has already sparked two letters of objection.

One of the protesters, Laura Weaver, of Tanglewood Court, New Milton, says: “We do need another crematorium but not at the top of Stem Lane - it’s the stupidest place to put it. I feel for the residents who live nearby.”

But the application says Westerleigh wants to provide a “high quality crematorium”.

It adds: “Its development has been driven by the desire to create a building which has been designed to complement and enhance the character of the area.

“Westerleigh have proven expertise and have established a reputation for creating beautifully landscaped, high quality and peaceful facilities with service to the bereaved at their heart.”

The application says changes made to the previous scheme include the removal of the conical roof.

It adds: “The reduction in scale has visibly improved its impact on the iconic setting. By adjusting the overall height the pavilion becomes less overbearing and sits calmly within the landscape.”

New Forest Post:

The outline application approved in 2016 was submitted by another applicant, the newly-formed New Forest Crematorium Company.

It said the multi-million-pound facility, the first in the Forest, would offer services longer than those available at Southampton and Bournemouth crematoriums.

It also said the proposed development would prevent people living in the New Milton area having to travel up to an hour to attend the funerals of loved ones.

However, Stem Lane residents warned of an “unacceptable” increase in traffic and also complained about the loss of green space.

Last night Ed Aldridge of the Westerleigh Group said: "The new crematorium and memorial park will offer a pleasant setting with a beautiful landscaped grounds, providing the space and time for a dignified and respectful service."