East Dunbartonshire councillors have deferred a request to allow the area’s first crematorium to operate on a 24-hour basis.
The crematorium, which is to be built on a site at Crosshill Road, Bishopbriggs, was approved for planning permission in June, but applicant Blairgar Ltd subsequently asked for a condition limiting service start times to 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday, to be removed.
They cited several factors as being relevant to this request, such as the requirements of certain religions, choice of service time, cheaper funerals being available at less popular times of day, and that the limitation would impact funding for the crematorium, and thus its commercial viability. Depute provost and Bishopbriggs North and Campsie councillor Gary Pews spoke against these proposals. He said: “I am not aware of any other crematorium operating on a 24 hour basis.
“To claim this would mean the crematorium would no longer be commercially viable smacks of emotional blackmail.”
Councillor Pews instead proposed councillors approve Saturday services, so it would continue operating at the previously approved times but six days a week instead of five.
However, Gordan Low, whose ward is Bishopbriggs South, also put forward an amendment in response to concerns expressed by transport officials.
He called for more thorough evaluation of the potential impact of the crematorium on the local roads network, particularly if the service hours were extended.
The report being discussed by the committee during their meeting of Tuesday, September 18, states: “Removing this condition could result in additional strain on the existing transport network, particularly at peak times during the week and on Saturdays.
“There is potential that if the application, including the associated transport assessment, been based on 24 hour operation or more flexible hours then further developer contributions in the form of roadworks and/or financial contributions would have been required to mitigate the impact of the proposed development on the road network.”
Councillors voted overwhelmingly for Mr Low’s amendment, though Mr Pews will be able to resubmit his proposals once the new traffic assessment is completed.
A decision on the operating hours will be made at a future council meeting following the findings of the traffic impact assessment.