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Nõmme residents' crematorium appeal reaches court

The Liiva cemetery crematorium.
The Liiva cemetery crematorium. Source: MT Memoris OÜ

Local residents in the Nõmme district of Tallinn have appealed a planned crematorium.

The appellants filed the complaint with the first-tier Tallinn Administrative Court, citing concerns about a potential fall in property prices once the crematorium, planned for the Tallinn Liiva cemetery, starts work, in addition to already scant parking spaces being taken up, plus the smoke issuing from the crematorium's chimney when in use.

The Raku neighborhood which, like much of Nõmme, consists mainly of leafy side-streets, is nearby.

The class action appeal contained a sufficient number of applicants for the court to propose continuing the procedure in written format.

The Nõmme district government, a sub-set of Tallinn city government, had publicly announced a detailed plan for the erection of an office building, within the parameters of a regular building.

It subsequently transpired that the plot were to be used for a crematorium and, while a second-tier circuit court declared this facility's construction permit invalid, in the ensuing time it had been built in any case (see cover image).

In 2023, the City of Tallinn's planning department then granted a permit to use the facility for funeral services, though not for actual cremations.

This two-year period was intended as a way to decide the effects of the facility's working ahead of an indefinite use permit being issued.

In any case, local residents in Raku appealed this.

Back in 2019, the Nõmme district elder (linnaosa vanem) along with representatives of MT Memoris OÜ, the funeral home which constructed the facility, had already conceded that some residents in the surrounding area had voiced concerns.

The complaint reached preliminary hearing stage with the Tallinn Administrative Court on Monday of this week, while that court has given the parties until March 4 to present their views and to make statements.  

Cremations were not the preferred form of burial during the Soviet occupation of Estonia, but have become commoner since the restoration of independence.

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Editor: Kaur Rasmus Tammelaan, Andrew Whyte

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