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Plans for 4,000-plot Muslim cemetery on green belt withdrawn

Plans to build a 4,000 plot Muslim cemetery in a leafy parish on the outskirts of Solihull have been withdrawn.

Catherine De Barnes
Catherine De Barnes

Plans to build a 4,000 plot Muslim cemetery in a leafy parish on the outskirts of Solihull have been withdrawn – a move that has been “cautiously welcomed” by campaigners.

The applicant, Mohammed Moosa, announced this week he is pulling out of the scheme, which would have seen the Muslim-only cemetery built on green belt land in Catherine-de-Barnes.

While it is not yet clear whether the plans will be re-submitted at a later date, residents remain defiant in their objections to the proposal.

“I think this has to be cautiously welcomed because we don’t know whether these plans will go back in again,” Coun Bob Sleigh (Con, Bickenhill) said.

“We maintain our objections as previously stated. This is not an appropriate development of green belt land and we will continuously work to preserve this land.

“If the plans go back in again, we will take the same position. We do not believe there is a need for this cemetery because there is adequate provision at the existing cemeteries in the borough.

“I don’t believe that this development justifies the decision to build on precious green belt land.”

Solihull Council received a mountain of objections when the plans were submitted in the beginning of this year, with residents concerned about the impact the cemetery would have on traffic and the erosion of green belt land.

The cemetery received backing from the Muslim community in Solihull, who said the area desperately needed the extra burial provision.

Solihull Imam, Dr Issam Ghannam, said he believed there is still a need for a Muslim cemetery in the borough.

“It is disappointing to hear these plans have been withdrawn,” he said.

“There is definitely a need for this in Solihull. From a personal point of view, I want to be buried in Solihull. I don’t want my loved ones to have to travel to London or Manchester to pay their respects.”

Under Islamic law, Muslims are traditionally buried in their own section of land, next to others of the same faith.

But Solihull Council said in January there is burial provision at the two borough cemeteries - Widney Manor and Woodlands. Widney has a separate area for Muslim burials.

A spokesman for Solihull Council said he could not comment on the reasons behind the withdrawal and the applicant Mr Moosa was unavailable for comment.

 

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