MORE than 140 residents packed a public meeting about a proposed crematorium in Hooton.
Gathering at the Memorial Hall, they voiced fears about potential smoke, ash, smells, increased traffic and environmental impact.
Theylistenedto RichardEvans,managingdirector of the applicant Westerleigh Group, speak on his plans to build the facility in Waterworks Lane.
It comes as Mr Evans released an artist's impression of the crematorium to the Pioneer.
Concerned Hooton resident Ann Bickerstaffe said: 'It was a very lively debate. There's a lot of people here it will affect. The roads just won't take it.
'We have set up a committee of eight people to fight this plan, to do flyers and set up a fighting fund.'
Westerleigh, which owns and runs 10 crematoriums andcemeteries intheUK,had lookedatasite in Hadlow Road, Willaston before plumping for Waterworks Lane.
Mr Evans, who submitted the plans to the borough council in June, said: 'We have built seven crematoriums and this is quite a normal reaction. But I am very happy to engage with local people.
'Should we get permission, we plan to use noise abatement equipment at an extra cost to us of £500,000, so it will be very quiet for both funerals and those living nearby.
'The air from the crematorium will be particularly clean. There will be no smoke or dioxins. Filters will be used to a higher standard than some neighbouring crematoriums.'
He said 10% of their budget for the site would be spent on landscaping, while trees on the boundary will ensure people won't see the building.
Mr Evans added: 'As for additional traffic, it might need some widening of the lane, but at the top (Hooton Road) it should be sufficient.
'We would have to bear the cost of any work on the lane, and Highways are looking at it.
'The average number of cars in a funeral procession is 18, and we are planning to do up to 1,250 funerals a year. That's about 25 a week, or five a day, Monday to Friday.
'That's almost 100 cars coming in and out a day, but not during peak time traffic. We avoid rush hour. Funerals are, on average, from 10am to 3pm.'
Mr Evans, who is based at the firm's HQ in London yet was educated at Helsby High School, said: 'We've been looking for a suitable site for 10 years. We believe with Waterworks Lane we have got a very good site.'