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Plans for cemetery resurface sparking residents' fury

Village residents have reacted in anger after plans for a 4,000-plot Muslim cemetery to be sited in Catherine-de-Barnes have been re-submitted.

Catherine De Barnes
Catherine De Barnes

Village residents have reacted in anger after plans for a 4,000-plot Muslim cemetery to be sited in Catherine-de-Barnes have been re-submitted.

Cemetery Development Services, the applicant behind the controversial plans, has re-submitted an identical proposal to the one withdrawn just four months ago.

Residents have again objected to the cemetery being built on green belt land in Catherine-de-Barnes Lane following concerns over the loss of green space and traffic problems.

The Muslim community has said there is a need for a dedicated cemetery in Solihull – the nearest one is in Birmingham – despite the fact there is provision for Muslim burials at existing cemeteries in the borough.

Cemetery Development Services said there has been an increase in the Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) population in the borough – a 108 per cent rise between 2001 and 2011 and few burial authorities are able to facilitate full Muslim burials in accordance with the practice of Sharia Law.

Local resident Robert Hall said: “There are already adequate facilities within the borough’s existing cemeteries.

“Green belt should only be built on when there are no other alternatives and meets the needs of the surrounding neighbourhood.”

Another resident, Marlene Hall, added: “I believe this proposal will blight the area and surrounding properties.

“It will de-value properties within a large radius.

“It is not in keeping with the surrounding area and it is prejudice to other faiths.”

But resident Mohammed Bashir said the new plot will improve relations between different faiths.

“The nearest Muslim cemetery is miles away for me.

“This plan does not harm community relations, on the contrary if accepted shows an acceptance and tolerance of the colourful mixture of culture we have in the midlands,” Mr Bashir said.

Samina Raashid-Latif agreed, saying the cemetery would provide the Muslim community with an alternative burial site.

 

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