PLANNERS are set to give their backing to a new crematorium being built in Powys – but the final say on the plans could yet be given to the Welsh Government.

Powys Crematorium Ltd wants to build a new crematorium on a 13.66-hectare site at Ael Y Bryn between Caersws and Aberhafesp.

The application will come before a Powys Council planning committee meeting on Thursday, with officers recommending the panel backs the proposed project.

But even that would only be a recommendation for now, with the Welsh Government still to decide whether to call the plans in. Should it decide not to, the decision made on Thursday would become binding.

The plans for the 13.66-hectare site include providing a green burial site as well as create a garden of remembrance, new and improved access arrangements, and a car parking area.

The nearest crematoria are at Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury, which are both around 40 miles from the site.

County councillor for Dolforwyn Cllr Gareth Pugh (Conservative), is registered as the only company director for Powys Crematorium Limited on the Companies House website, which means that the application needed to be brought in front of the committee.

County councillor for Caersws, Les George (Conservative) has also “called in” the application for the decision to be made by the planning committee.

The report on the application shows that the plans have received 33 objections with eight comments supporting it.

PCC principal planning officer, Gemma Bufton, has said that the application is a “departure” from the Local Development Plan (LDP) – but that does not mean it doesn't comply with the council's development plan.

Ms Bufton said: “The local member has raised major concerns from residents in the immediate neighbouring properties and Caersws over inadequate highway safety.”

In her report, Ms Bufton points out that there are 17 crematoria in Wales and that none of them are in Powys.

Ms Bufton said: “A feasibility assessment was submitted in support of the application.

“It is suggested that on average 77 per-cent of deaths in the UK go to be cremated.

“This means on average that over 1,200 people yearly within Powys are cremated, all of which are currently travelling out of county.

“It is therefore considered that there is a recognised need within Powys for a crematorium, especially within this mid Powys region.

“The provision of such would therefore significantly reduce travel times for residents thus reducing CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions from vehicular movements.

“This recognised need will therefore be weighed against all other material planning considerations and weighted accordingly.”

Ms Bufton said she believes this “need” is the biggest argument in favour of the proposal.

Ms Bufton said: “The site that is the subject of the application is located within open countryside but is not classified as being high quality agricultural land.

“The development at this location is acceptable with regards to highway access, landscape and ecological considerations.

“The recommendation would therefore be one of conditional consent.”