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News Code: 936


Residents of West Midlands village raised objections to Muslim cemetery

Plans for a large, Muslim-only cemetery to be built on a plot of rural land have upset residents, who have publicly objected to the new development.

People from Catherine-de-Barnes, near Solihull in the West Midlands, have objected to the 'major development', which will include space for 4,000 followers of Islam to be buried, and 75 parking spaces for visitors.

As the latest census figures give the village's population as just 613, this means the cemetery could eventually hold six-and-a-half times as many people as Catherine-de-Barnes itself.

Councillor Bob Sleigh, who represents the area, said there was enough space for burials at the two main cemeteries in Solihull Borough, Widney Manor and Woodlands.
'Distinctive character'

He said: "There is already provision to meet the needs of the Muslim Community because Widney Manor has capacity up until 2023 and has a separate area for Muslim burials.

"The objections are in principle about the fact this would be built on greenbelt land. People want to protect the distinctive character of the village."

Dr Issam Ghannan, who is an Imam in Solihull, said there was an ageing Muslim population in the area and burial plots were filling up.

He said: "It is needed because Muslims need to be buried in their own section of land, next to others who have the same faith.

"The plot of land is isolated. It's not going to be built in the middle of village, it would not cause many problems with traffic."
Source: BBC