COUNCILLORS will decide tonight whether to give the go-ahead to a new crematorium in Hooton.
Planning committee members will meet in the Civic Hall at 6.15pm to discuss a scheme by the Westerleigh Group to build the facility in Waterworks Lane.
Hundreds are expected to attend what has been described as 'probably the single most controversial application the council has ever had'.
Council planning officers are recommending the scheme be refused, despite the majority of those who have voiced an opinion supporting it.
In a report to the planning committee officers say: 'The local planning authority is not satisfied that there is a compelling need for a crematorium at this site that is sufficient to clearly outweigh the harm.'
They argue that because the site is situated within the North Cheshire Green Belt and is a habitat for Great Crested Newts, a European protected species, the development would be 'inappropriate'.
The report says a petition with 1,292 names has been submitted backing the proposal.
A total of 103 individual letters have also been received and a number of funeral directors have registered their support.
However, about 776 letters of objection have been received, of which approximately 194 are 'individually' written letters. A petition with 280 names has also been submitted.
Residents in Hooton and the surrounding area formed the Hooton Crematorium Action Group to fight the proposal when the scheme was unveiled last July.
Westerleigh, which owns and operates 10 crematoriums and cemeteries across the UK, has been searching for a suitable site for 10 years and had earlier looked at Hadlow Road, Willaston.
A decision was due to be made back in November but councillors deferred the application asking for further reports from planners.