By Connor Steel
FAREHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL have approved new proposals to officially build a new crematorium to be based near its border with Gosport; their planning committee hearing that the current facility in Portchester is being “overloaded” by a combination of increasing rates of death, people choosing to be cremated and recent rises in overall local population.
These plans were submitted by Mercia Crematorium Developments Limited and focuses upon land adjacent to Lee-on-the-Solent known as the “Horse Field”; found to the east of Broom Way and north of Brune Lane. It is also described as being sized at 6.5 acres in a rectangular shape; whilst further being flat and crucially away from built-up resident areas.
Developers proposed to build a single storey crematorium that would have capacity for ninety seats, but this would rise to 130 if the entrance vestibule. Visitors would also follow a specific route throughout this building and depart to find the memorial gardens that would be found in the south; allowing for a safe scattering of ashes and placing of floral tributes.
Planning was further undertaken to include a car park that would offer ninety-four spots alongside six staff spaces; with a small number allowing for disability access to the site. There is also potential for overspill parking with the area due to be finished with a “resin bonded gravel material” that would curve alongside the western side of this new development.
There aren’t plans to close the existing Portchester Crematorium and the new facility will help limit reported pressures on the current site once completed, whilst also offering a wider choice for residents based in Gosport and Fareham. It is further hoped that having two crematoriums in the area should reduce “long term issues” caused by future demand.
It is reported that multiple jobs will be created as a result of the new crematorium and local hospitality could see a large boost due to the holding of wakes. One committee member further argued that this site would be beneficial to residents in Gosport and Fareham; some stating that it has taken up to 30-45 minutes’ travelling time to Portchester for a funeral.
Concerns were however recorded covering a mix of potential issues, particularly on the subject of additional traffic that would be generated locally as visitors travelled to the new facility. In response it was stated that all services will only be held between 9:30am and 4:30pm; which a report states should reduce any impact on the already crowded peak times.
A planning report addressed other areas of concern such as noise and implied that all horses would be able to graze in fields near to this site once development is concluded. It is also reported that “extra drainage facilities” would be placed within the site’s grounds and surrounding area to reduce flooding; which does affect both Broom Way and Brune Lane.
Committee members considered concerns about a lack of public transport links and “presently unusable walking paths” nearby; arguing that a huge number of crematorium users would travel by cars, taxis or within a group where someone would drive. They did however acknowledge the issue and stated it would be kept under review when the site is ready.
There is also a debate about whether Portchester Crematorium is “overloaded” as claimed by the developers, who said that it had a ‘catchment’ area of 360,000 residents back in 2019 and may have since increased. The current site serves residents from Fareham, Gosport and the western half of Havant / Waterlooville; doing this since opening in later 1958.
But information from this “Portchester Crematorium Joint Committee Development Plan 2023-2028” does highlight that cremations have decreased, whilst a letter states that there has been factual errors in the application. This states there are service slots available each day and they are replacing current cremators in response to the population projections.
There was no objections from Natural England, Hampshire County Council, and the Environmental agency; whilst this proposal cover elements of the Local Plan 2037 for Fareham. The plans are further within the Cremation Act 1902 law, which requires that crematoria be 200 yards from the nearest residential property and 50 yards from a public highway.
Councillors have since formally approved the proposals with a condition that works will begin by July 2026 and that all above issues are met as stated in the planning documents. Readers can explore photographs, official planning files, a range of authority statements and other information by clicking this link; typing in the reference codes of P/23/0245/FP.
PICTURED BY MERCIA CREMATORIUM DEVELOPMENTS LIMITED: Document showing a map and planning views.