Fury as travellers park at crematorium

Travellers on the car park at Howe Bridge Crematorium
Travellers on the car park at Howe Bridge Crematorium

Travellers have caused uproar by leaving caravans on the car park of a borough crematorium.

New arrivals on land near Howe Bridge Crematorium have been accused of being “disrespectful” after setting up camp outside.

The crematorium itself, which is privately run by the Westerleigh Group, continued with committal services yesterday.

But the development has been poorly received by members of Atherton Resident’s Assocation’s Facebook group.

Jonathan Coombes said: “This is a sacred burial area and NOT for travellers to use and abuse.”

Denise Knowles added: “I have heartfelt feelings for those who are going to the crem with their loved ones tomorrow. An awful day for them without seeing that lot.”

Stuart Gerrard, chairman of Atherton Residents Association, said he had informed ward councillors about the incident, in a bid to secure the travellers’ removal.

A Wigan Council spokesman said: “The car park is owned by Wigan Council and the process is under way to have the travellers removed from the site.”

A Leigh and Atherton Police spokesman said: “We are aware of the travelling community that have moved onto the crematorium at Howe Bridge and are monitoring the situation.”

Officials at Howe Bridge Crematorium declined to comment on the ongoing situation last night.

But a spokesman confirmed that services at the crematorium were proceeding as planned.

The encampment is the latest in a string of flashpoints involving travellers over the past couple of months.

Several sites have been established in the Crankwood Road and Plank Lane area, on the Leigh and Lowton border, with a children’s play area among the locations affected.

Council bosses and Taylor Wimpey, which is behind the nearby multi-million pound Pennington Wharf development, have agreed to work together to prevent a re-occurence of the issue.

Another incident saw travellers end up on the former Hovis factory site, off Cale Lane, Aspull. The bakery giant has pledged improved security for the complex as this was the second camp set up there in a seven-week period.