A planning meeting erupted in loud cheers and applause as councillors threw out plans to build a crematorium near Great Glen.
The scheme, for farmland off London Road south of the village, was put forward by The Co-operative Group.
And there was standing room only at last night’s planning meeting, as more than 120 people packed into the Cromwell Suite at The Three Swans Hotel to listen to the debate.
More than 20 members of the public spoke to object to the proposal - parents, residents, local councillors and staff at the nearby Stoneygate School among them.
They raised major concerns over traffic, emmissions from the incinerator which would have been housed in the crematorium, the look of the building, and the potential emotional impact on pupils.
Some described it as an industrial development of the countryside while others feared it would return to Great Glen the traffic levels seen before the construction of the bypass ten years ago.
Many of the speeches were met with loud applause which was quickly quelled by the meeting’s chairman Cllr Rosita Page, who was keen to keep the meeting moving.
Indeed many of those in the public gallery missed their coach home, the vehicle having been rather optimistically booked for 8.30pm. The decision did not come until 9.25pm.
Kate McClean spoke for the Co-op, telling the meeting the scheme was two years in the planning and was designed to blend in with the surrounding countryside.
She said the Co-op had worked with the school to alleviate its concerns, which had resulted in changes to the design including moving the car park further away.
“There are no significant impacts to outweigh the benefits of the scheme,” she said.
This was a view broadly backed by council planning officers, who said in documents prepared for the meeting that concerns over the impact of the building on the countryside were outweighed by the contribution it would make toward burial sites in the district.
But councillors sitting on the planning committee disagreed and the application was refused on the basis that it was outside the limits of village development and that it would have a detrimental effect on the countryside.
The decision was met with loud cheers and applause from the hundred-strong crowd in the public gallery, who filed out of the hotel in exultant mood - many of them presumably on a mission to find a taxi home.
In a statement to the Mail this morning (Wednesday) a spokesman for The Co-operative Group said: “Naturally we are extremely disappointed not to get permission for the development, particularly after it was recommended for approval to councillors by their officers.
“It is our continued belief that this is the right site for a woodland burial site, cemetery and crematorium, and that its construction would be enormously beneficial to residents throughout South Leicestershire. We will now take some time to consider our options, and will announce our next steps in due course.”