Ballinasloe is to be the location for the first crematorium in the west of Ireland, following a decision by An Bord Pleanala to grant full planning permission for the facility at Garbally Demesne, alongside the N6 old Ballinasloe-Loughrea road.
Work is expected to start later this year on the 660sq m, single storey, centre, which will be built on a 20-acre green field site to the cost of €4 million. The new crematorium is expected to provide employment in the area for up to 10 people. The development will be a non-denominational facility which will offer an alternative to traditional burials in Ireland, particularly with a shortage of graveyard space in the country.
In addition to the crematorium, planning permission has also been granted for a reflection room, memorial gardens, walkways, and a memorial wall, all located within a large and attractive parkland setting. These facilities will offer a peaceful and tranquil environment for people to visit and pay their respects. The crematorium facility will operate seven days a week between the hours of 9.30am and 5pm, and will provide a much-needed service for bereaved families in the west, north-west, and midland regions of the country.
An Bord Pleanala rejected a submission lodged by the Poolboy Community Development Council against the decision of Ballinasloe Town Council to grant permission to BKT Construction, care of David Courtney and Associates in Cahertymore, Athenry, in accordance with the plans and particulars lodged with the town council.
In granting planning permission, An Bord Pleanala stated, “Having regard to the scale, design, location, and setting of the proposed development, to the policy framework and the pattern of development in the area, it is considered that, subject to compliance with the conditions set out below, the proposed development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity, would not be prejudicial to public health and would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience. The proposed development would therefore be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”
Among the 16 conditions set out by An Bord Pleanala, it says that prior to any commencement of development on the site a full emissions monitoring plan shall be submitted to the planning authority; a programme for any proposed measures including staff training necessary to ensure ongoing compliance of the crematorium; the proposed crematorium and memorial gardens shall be used solely for that purpose and shall facilitate cremation services only and shall not be used as a funeral home; the hours of operation of the crematorium shall be between 9.30am and 5pm from Monday to Sunday; and the noise level shall not exceed 55 d(B ) rated sound level which is to protect the residential amenities of property in the vicinity of the site.
Kevin Tuohy of BKT Construction said he was delighted this project was accepted by Ballinasloe Town Council, An Bord Pleanala, and the board’s inspector. “People have currently to travel to either Dublin or Cork for cremation services and I believe this centre will save families substantial costs and will be nearer for many suffering bereavements in the west, north-west, and midlands areas,” said Mr Tuohy. “It will be non-denominational, designed, constructed, operated, and monitored in accordance with the United Kingdom Secretary of State’s Guidance for Crematoria. We decided to provide this service by public demand and with the increasing shortage of graveyard space in many parishes.”
He paid special tribute to the planning consultancy services of James O’Donnell and consultant engineer David Courtney, who headed a team that successfully designed the first-state-of-the art crematorium for the west of Ireland.