A PET crematorium is one step away from opening in a former Whitehaven restaurant.

A proposal for cremations to take place at what used be Zest on Low Road is being recommended for approval when it goes before Copeland planners next week.

However, 13 objections from nearby properties have been lodged against the plans.

Among the residents’ fears are that the crematorium will devalue their properties, the road can’t take any more capacity and the air quality will be affected.

But Copeland Council’s planning officers have addressed those issues in a report which has been shared with the authority’s planning panel.

It states: “The potential for smoke, fumes and odour nuisance arising from the operation of the incinerator has been considered. Having regard to the separation distance of the site to residential properties, the low burn rate and the limited number of carcasses to be incinerated, the evidence indicates that if operated, maintained and serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, then there would be no adverse impact on health or on the living conditions of the nearby residents.”

Speaking when the plans were lodged, Jeanne Park, the woman behind the scheme, said: “At the moment pets are going to a crematorium between Carlisle and Penrith. Some are sent as far as Durham or Lancashire and people are having to wait for weeks.We will be able to offer guaranteed individual cremations with ashes returned within 48 hours.”

She said the interior of the building would be redesigned to allow for a reception area, a farewell room and a shop selling items such as cremation urns: “People will be able to say goodbye to their pet in the farewell room. They can sit there as long as they want until they are ready to say goodbye.”

The facility is proposed to open seven days a week between 9am and 7pm. Only one pet would be cremated at a time, with three cremations taking place a week at startup.

Zest closed in January 2017 after 17 years. It was run by popular chef Ricky Andalcio and wife Emma.