New plots for cemetery

DILAPIDATED: Heckmondwike Cemetery Chapel.
DILAPIDATED: Heckmondwike Cemetery Chapel.

A MUSLIM burial section is to be created at Heckmondwike cemetery.

The section, which will contain about 220 plots, is part of a wider £40,000 scheme for the cemetery.

It includes more than 200 new burial plots in the main cemetery and new driveways and pathways.

The plans were approved by Kirklees Council Cabinet on Wednesday, which also gave permission for improvements to Batley cemetery.

A report presented to the Cabinet stated the new plots would ensure availability for the next 10 to 15 years and would bring in £720,000 to the council.

Bereavement Services manager Richard Forster said: “We are developing an area of the cemetery near to the Dale Lane entrance.

“The extensions are planned for burial plots only, although people are allowed to inter ashes into burial plots once an initial burial has taken place.

“It is envisaged that of the 450 new spaces in Heckmondwike approximately 220 will be within the new Muslim section, though this may change once we have mapped the area out after the drives have been constructed and we have an idea of likely demand after 12 months of operation.

“Currently across Kirklees, we carry out approximately 600 burials per year compared to approximately 3,000 cremations.”

The work is expected to be completed by the end of April.

Meanwhile, Coun David Sheard (Lab, Heckmondwike) said the council was open to offers from anyone who could bring the dilapidated cemetery chapel back into use.

The listed building is currently disused.

He said: “We are looking for someone to take it on.

“We have spent thousands on it over the years and it’s just a disgrace. There are about 20 of them in a similar state across Kirklees including one in Liversedge.

“They are owned by Kirklees but in the past we’ve offered them out to anybody to try and get some use for them. A few years ago we spent £40,000 on new slates for the roof of Heckmondwike chapel and they were stolen within a week.

“They are a good visual attraction – we want to make them safe and get a good use for them. We would welcome suggestions from anybody who wants to do something with them.”