Plea by thousands to scrap crematorium plan on park site

Littlemoor Park is on a list of potential sites for a new crematorium,
Littlemoor Park is on a list of potential sites for a new crematorium,

QUEENSBURY residents will plead with Council bosses to drop one of their parks from a list of potential sites for a new crematorium.

Over 2,330 people have now signed a petition calling for Bradford Council to remove Littlemoor Park from a list of potential sites for a new crematorium, and the petition is now likely to be heard at a meeting of Bradford Council later this month.

Council bosses provided Shipley residents with a late Christmas present last week by dropping Northcliffe Park from a list of potential crematoria sites in the North of the district. Now those who have protested Littlemoor’s inclusion, including the Friends of Littlemoor Park, have hopes that their park may too be dropped from the plans.

Last year, an announcement by Bradford Council that the two public parks were on a list of sites considered to replace two of the district’s ageing crematoria led to a huge backlash from the Shipley and Queensbury communities.

The Council’s Bereavement strategy calls for Nab Wood and Scholemoor crematoria, described as working far beyond their life span, to be shut and replaced. Because new crematoria take up more space, due to required mercury abatement equipment, those existing sites would not be big enough for the new facilities.

The Council listed Littlemoor Park and a private plot of land, which they have not yet identified, as a possible replacement for Scholemoor and Northcliffe Park and two private sites as possible replacement sites for Nab Wood.

Bradford Council announced it was likely to drop Northcliffe from the list, with a final decision being made by the Council’s Executive on Tuesday. A report to members said an initial study of the sites found “potentially insurmountable issues in forming safe access from a busy, steeply sloping road” at Northcliffe, requiring it to be dropped from the list.

Both parks belong to charitable trusts, and were bequeathed to the people of their respective areas. Littlemoor was bequeathed to the people of Queensbury by the Foster family. Neil Foster the grandson of Edith and Herbert Foster, recently visited the park and spoke against the proposal to “carve out” and area of the park for the crematorium.

He said: “I speak, as a grandson, for the Foster family in saying that the Council’s approach is completely against the spirit of the family’s gift and should be strongly resisted.

“I am sure that the people of Queensbury and Bradford must feel just as I do; green spaces in heavily built up areas are becoming very precious. My memories of Bradford are that there are many acres of brownfield sites and these would be a much more appropriate site for a crematorium.”

The agenda for next week’s Executive meeting refers to the two potential Southern sites, Littlemoor and the private site, saying: “Both sites have a number of known issues which may render either as unsuitable during detailed design and planning processes.”

Carolyn Bowe, from the Friends of Littlemoor Park, said: “At one recent meeting a Councillor said the petition for Northcliffe Park was the biggest petition to had gone before the Council, and we have got even more names. We have a lot of support so we have to feel quite confident.”

She pointed out that Bradford Council recently spent £10,000 improving footpaths in the park, and so to build a crematoria on a chunk of the site would make these improvements a waste of money.

The Executive meets in City Hall at 10.30am on Tuesday. The full Council meeting the petition is likely to be heard at will take place the following Tuesday (15) at 4pm.