THE PLANS for a 35,000-plot cemetery near the Blackburn-Oswaldtwistle border would be “contrary to heritage and landscape planning policies”.
An environmental report to Hyndburn Council also opposed the planning request “because the development of the proposed cemetery could pose an unacceptable risk of groundwater pollution.”
Last October, the Issa Foundation, run by Mohsin and Zuber Issa, revealed plans for a new cemetery off Blackburn Road. The application site covers an area of 84 acres to accommodate a total of 35,000 burial grounds, which would be accessible to people of all faiths and backgrounds.
The plans include an administration building, a “funeral home” and housing for the guards with provision for more than 660 parking spaces.
Residents have raised concerns about traffic issues and are opposed to any kind of development on the site.
Currently, the main cemeteries in the area are at Pleeasington in Blackburn and Burnley Road in Accrington.
Now, an initial assessment by the council’s conservation officer indicates that the new functionality “is visually at odds with the historic landscape”.
The report adds: “The current visual unit of the Green Belt campaign would be lost and the graveyard would separate the Cow Hill Fields from the surviving Stand Hill Fields.
“Cutting and backfilling the proposed development would destroy any archaeological or other heritage assets that are within the boundaries of the site. The project would divert the two historic roads, which are public roads, and undermine the rural setting of the heritage properties described above.
“The setting of Listed Knuzden Hall, Knuzden Hall Farm and, to a lesser extent, Stanhill Hall would be damaged by encroachment of development adjacent to their perimeters affecting views in and out of Listed Buildings.”
He adds: “When evaluating the request, the case manager and the planning committee will have to decide whether the public benefits of the scheme outweigh the above harm, taking into account the legal obligation with regard to the establishment of constructions and other planning matters.
The initial report states that the impact of the proposed development on the historic landscape would be substantial due to “the very large size of the development site, spanning the entire length of the green belt and covering most of the lower fields of Stand Hill” and “The loss of the unified historic character of the saddle landscape”.
An Environment Agency report submitted in December says it “opposes the planning request, as submitted, as development of the proposed cemetery could pose an unacceptable risk of water pollution underground, and it is doubtful whether it meets the minimum requirements. ”
In e-mail correspondence, however, the objection is described as “very technical”.
The report adds: “The proposal is scheduled for more than 100 burials per year, which is considered high risk in accordance with Position Statement L3 of the Environment Agency’s approach to the protection of human beings. underground waters. Such proposals will only be accepted by the Environment Agency, where a developer can demonstrate, through a detailed risk assessment, that taking into account the specific site setting and proposed engineering methods, the groundwater pollution will be avoided.
But he says, “If this program demonstrates that the identified risks can be satisfactorily managed through a method statement, we can withdraw that objection.”
The Issa Foundation had said after registering the plans that it would “continue to work with the various stakeholders to ensure that the program effectively addresses the concerns presented to date.”