PLANS for a new crematorium in Hampshire could be rubber-stamped by the end of the year after developers submitted an application.

Operator sWesterleigh Group have created the scheme on Ridge Lane, Romsey, which will service residents from the town and Test Valley, in response to the demand for services at Southampton crematorium.

The group held a public exhibition last month and say those attending expressed strong support from funeral directors, clergy and residents, who have complained of a lack of facilities in the area. Richard Evans, managing director of Westerleigh Group, said: “We were very pleased with how our plans were received.

“Close to 50 people attended the exhibition and there was strong support for the need for a quieter, more-local crematorium.

“Many residents commented on the difficult journey to Southampton crematorium and how they often found the facilities dated and congested.

“The positive response from local residents, funeral directors and clergy has encouraged us to progress our plans. We have also had productive discussions with local planners and we hope that local councillors will take the same view.”

The company has built 13 crematoriums across Britain and operate a further 20 around the UK..

Westerleigh bosses say Southampton crematorium is the 25th busiest in the UK and that residents had been positive about a closer service being built.

Designers insist the building will be naturally screened by existing woodland and hedgerows and “sophisticated filtration equipment” will mean there is no need for a chimney.

Mandie Pidgely of New Forest Funerals said: “I know that many would greatly welcome a more-accessible, local crematorium, especially as it promised to provide a much quieter, more tranquil service.”

The plans have been submitted to the planning committee and a decision is expected before Christmas.