Muslim cemetery plans withdrawn just hours ahead of councillors' decision - The Solihull Observer

Muslim cemetery plans withdrawn just hours ahead of councillors' decision

Solihull Editorial 26th Feb, 2020   0

PLANS for a new cemetery for Muslims in Solihull have been withdrawn by applicants.

The proposals for an Islamic burial ground in Catherine-de-Barnes were set to go before Solihull’s planning committee today.

But an agent for the Birmingham Muslim Foundation has withdrawn their submission.

Justin Smith, at CDP planning agency, requested a deferral from planning officer Lawrence Osborne but this was refused – instead CDP said it intends to resubmit the application at a later date.

The delay is down to Mr Smith believing the planning department had not received the full bundle of reports relating to ‘al-Thaqwa burial ground’, which was applying for planning permission for the fourth time.

As the Observer reported last week (February 21), the cemetery plans have been submitted on four occasions.

Ahead of a planning committee meeting tonight (February 26), officers had recommended the proposals be rejected.

They say the cemetery application before councillors is identical to other applications, the foundation does not own the site, and it would be ‘unacceptable’ to allow the burial of bodies next to an outdoor dog-training centre.

Hampton-in-Arden parish council also opposes the application – it said “the borough [has] 25 years’ worth of burial space which is now down to 18/19 years. There is sufficient provision to meet local needs for the foreseeable future although it is recognised that it will be necessary within the next five to 10 years to secure some additional burial space.”

Thaqwa Cemetery Ltd said: “There is no designated Muslim community cemetery within a 45 mile radius of Birmingham or Solihull, and Muslims’ cultural and religious requirements not being met by other providers.

“Hence, there is a need for an independent Muslim cemetery. To serve the community we purchased a suitable plot of land on Catherine-de-Barnes after consultation with Solihull Council which confirmed this area of green belt land is suitable for cemetery development.

“As all the rituals will be conducted in the mosques, there will be a very minimal requirement for car parking. The prayers are offered at mosques where friends and relative gather to pay their last respect. Burial takes place after this service at a mosque.

“Traditionally, very close relatives accompany the body to the graveyard where burial is conducted by very small group of men. Due to this reason there will be a small number (approximately seven to nine) of cars accompanying a body at any time.”


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