Plans submitted for 4th time for a cemetery for 5,040 graves at Catherine-de-Barnes (pop. 613)
Friday 09 August, SOLIHULL - Residents have slammed plans to build one of Britain's biggest Muslim-only cemeteries with more than 5,000 graves next to a village with a population of just 613.
If the controversial plans are approved, it would mean the cemetery in Catherine-de-Barnes, West Midlands, would eventually hold more than eight times as many people as the village itself.
Locals living in the picturesque village say they are outraged by the plans and claim there is 'no need' for the cemetery in their hamlet.
Concerns have been raised about the impact it will have on traffic as well as surrounding fertile greenbelt land.
Figures published in June last year reveal there are around 5,247 Muslims living in the nearest town of Solihull - making up 2.5 per cent of the total population.
The graveyard would have 63 parking spaces and comply fully with Sharia law, which states Muslims are buried in their own section of land, next to others of the same faith.
Islamic law also stipulates a method of bathing and shrouding the bodies before being buried with their heads facing towards Mecca.
Graves have no headstones, instead having a plaque on top of a mound of soil.
Previous plans to build the dedicated burial ground at Woodhouse Farm were rejected twice by Solihull Council and withdrawn once by the Cemetery Development Service.
But the proposals have now been re-submitted for a fourth time following a change in planning laws which means cemeteries are no longer considered 'inappropriate developments' on greenbelt land.
A date has not yet been set for the application hearing but it will be considered in the next few months.
Author's comment: I note that the capacity of the cemetery is almost the same as the entire Muslim population of Solihull. Maybe the land should be made available on the condition that the entire Muslim population moves there forthwith. Now that's what I call thinking outside the box.