Published Thursday, 28th January 2021

A planning application for a new crematorium and memorial garden in Woodhatch has been submitted by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council to provide a more local service for bereaved families.

Updated artist impression showing how the new crematorium could look The Council is making the application because Reigate & Banstead residents who wish their loved ones to be cremated must journey to a facility out of the borough, usually as far as Leatherhead, Crawley or Croydon. Feedback from local funeral directors also suggests that bereaved families can experience longer than average wait times for convenient service times.

The plans are for a modern, low profile crematorium with a ceremony hall that seats 120 mourners, a waiting room, a flower court and a covered area with audiovisual facilities so services can be relayed outside for larger ceremonies. The facility would be set into an attractively landscaped garden of remembrance that complements the surrounding landscape.

Ecological and environmental measures

As part of the plans, 3,000 square metres of new woodland trees would be planted along with 100 structural trees and native hedging. New tree and shrub planting in the gardens and around the building, together with a wildflower meadow, will help the site to blend in with the wider environment.

A range of environmental measures included in the plans:

  • a green roof to reduce the building’s visual impact and encourage ground nesting birds
  • high quality filtration systems that exceed environmental standards
  • solar panels
  • a heat transfer system to reuse heat generated
  • grey water recycling and
  • low level lighting to protect bats.

Updated plans

Ahead of submitting the planning application, the Council held a pre-application consultation from 16 October to 8 November to seek feedback on the plans. Over 300 responses were received and over 130 people attended an online Q&A event with the design team. Feedback from the public engagement accompanies the application.

As a result of the comments received, changes have been made to the proposed scheme, including:

  • reducing the site boundary to maintain access to a larger area for recreation
  • further improvements to the footpath network on the site and provision of circular walks which are not currently possible
  • changes to the building layout and construction materials to soften their appearance
  • reviewing the hours of operation.

Consultation feedback

Cllr Tim Archer, Executive Member for Investment and Companies, said: “I would like to thank everyone who took the time to give their comments, submit questions or attend our virtual consultation event about our crematorium proposals.

“We have refined the plans in response to feedback we received. In particular, local people told us that the area was important for recreation, especially at this time, so we have significantly reduced the boundary of the site and are proposing enhancements to the footpath network to allow greater public access. We have also made some changes to the building layout and construction materials.

“People are also keen that the scheme is environmentally friendly. I would like to assure residents that safety and sustainability are fundamental to our proposals, with a number of measures that meet, and in many cases exceed, environmental standards. The plans, if approved, also include new trees and plants and improvements to the meadows to enhance the ecology, biodiversity and wildlife habitats on site.

“We want this crematorium to be a tranquil and nature-filled place where family and friends can remember their loved ones, while complementing the surrounding landscape and minimising the impact on neighbours.”

Along with detailed plans for the design and layout of the scheme, the planning application also includes a needs assessment, a preliminary ecology survey, a transport assessment and planning and design and access statements. Feedback on the draft proposals from the Environment Agency and Surrey County Council as the local highways authority will also be included.

Currently, one in four people who pass away opt for burial, which means that three in four people would need to leave the borough to be cremated. In addition, many borough residents are not sufficiently provided for because they fall outside the suggested 30-minute drive-time to a crematorium, so must travel further than is considered ideal to remember their loved ones.

More information

For more detail on the Council’s proposal, including responses to questions received through the consultation, visit the Proposal to provide a local crematorium pages.

To view the application go to the planning application search and search using reference number 21/00192/F