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Stop unnecessary spending and closure of historical crematorium building

This petition had 193 supporters


New plans to develop Prestbury Cemetery & Crematorium, would see ***closing the existing chapels for services.***

The original plans, shown to the public in 2015, were for only 1 new building and desperately needed additional parking, with a clear intent for the existing chapels to remain available for services. However, latest plans now show 2 new, modern buildings instead and, despite being completely unnecessary spending, will now mean the ***closing of the existing chapels for services.***

UPDATE - Response to the petition so far has demonstrated, whilst the original proposal for a new crematorium facility IS supported, the public strongly object to the additional costs as a result. That is, a further £1 million, on top of the £7 million initially allocated, the closure of the existing chapels and a staggering 30% rise in funeral costs from 1st April this year!

This means a great deal to us as it was within this historical building and one of its chapels that we have held services for lost loved ones. The historical building also houses the Remembrance Cloister and Book of Remembrance, memorial plaques of World War II servicemen and Cheltenham civilian air-raid victims. These would all have to be moved out and do not appear to be on the new plans.

The closure of this historical building and these beautiful chapels for services, to be butchered instead into office space is an absolute disgrace!

Previously, (Nov 9, 2016) - Mr Coleman was reported as saying, "At least one of the two chapels in the 19th century building in the centre of the site would still have to be used for funeral services...that won't change whatever we decide...we will still use the current chapels – there's a demand for a wake facility and a café and one could be used for burial services."

Prestbury is listed in the 1086 Doomsday Book as "Presteberie", part of the property of the church of Hereford, with just 18 villagers, five smallholders, a priest, a riding man and 11 slaves. Locals will already be familiar with the Starvehall Farm development. A controversial project to build on 11 acres of farm land, some of which had been used by locals as playing fields for decades. The project was desperately fought by residents, but despite every effort building has been allowed to go ahead.

We must act to stop yet more unnecessary spending and over-development of this historical village.

It will be allowed to go ahead unless enough people speak up now. 

Please sign the petition and if you can take a few minutes to
- email cemetery@cheltenham.gov.uk
- email the councillor at Cllr.Chris.Coleman@cheltenham.gov.uk

Edited to add - 3rd March, 2017

The general response by the council seems to be that plans have not changed since the original concept was discussed and brought to the public's attention back in 2015. 

This is simply not true.

The original consultation, which ran for *four weeks*, (details of which can be found here https://www.cheltenham.gov.uk/news/article/1602/public_drop_in_session_-_improving_cheltenhams_cemetery_and_crematorium invited the public...

"...to offer their views based on four options for investment:

- Replace the cremators in the existing facility
- Build a new crematory and continue to use the existing chapels
- Extend the existing crematorium
- Build a [one] new chapel and crematorium"

Apart from the 5 hour public 'event' held earlier this week at the Municipal Offices on Wednesday 1st March, (sorry if you missed it), no similar consultation to gage public opinion on the obvious alterations to the plans has taken place since 2015. Unfortunately, the cut off date, *10am Thursday 2nd March* for responses to Wednesday's meeting has already passed.

Councillor Chris Coleman directs the public to view the new plans online here... http://www.cheltenham.gov.uk/cem-and-crem 

Edited to add - 6th March, 2017

More details and feedback from Wednesday's public 'event' can be found here: http://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/two-new-chapels-for-crematorium-move-ahead-after-approval-at-exhibition-of-plans/story-30177131-detail/story.html

In brief, with less than 50 attendees, of the total 84 responses recieved,
- 76 people awarded the 'design of the new buildings 3 stars (out of 5)
- 62 people were happy with the 'approach to the entrance and exit roads'.
- 73 people agreed to 'Building a Second Chapel' in the new development.

I sincerely hope when the council reflect on the public responses so far, the overwhelming support for this petition is also taken into account and "the wishes of local people", with regards to the *closure of the current Victorian chapels for services*, is also recognised.



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