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Harold Wood Muslim cemetery with 10,000 plots gets the green light

PUBLISHED: 13:30 24 January 2017

Mohamed Omer, founding member of the Muslim Gardens of Peace in Hainault

Mohamed Omer, founding member of the Muslim Gardens of Peace in Hainault

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Proposals for land to be converted into a Muslim cemetery – with up to 10,000 burial spaces – has been given the green light.

Farouk Ismail, founding member of Gardens of Peace. Farouk Ismail, founding member of Gardens of Peace.

Despite both parties agreeing the development would be an inappropriate use of the green belt and the overall size of the site increased, policy lists cemeteries as a permitted exception.

The planning inspectorate concluded on Monday that the development would safeguard the countryside from encroachment and remain essentially rural in character and appearance.

“It’s good news,” said Gardens of Peace founding member Farouk Ismail.

“I don’t like upsetting anyone from any community.

“I like community cohesion and we are going to do our very best to make everyone happy. That is what’s important.”

The proposals for the land at Oak Farm, Maylands Fields, Harold Wood, generated fierce debate on social media.

Commenting on Facebook, Dave Wackett said: “[I} do not agree with this, as I think most people in the area. It is a traffic black spot which would be made far worst if this was to be given the go ahead.”

But Kimberley Fraser added: “It’s best they do something with that field because all it is now is a great big patch of land that travellers like to try and get on, or eco warriors as there was recently.

“I don’t see what the objections are to the Gardens of Peace other then just racism.”

Sylvie Williams responded: “It is not racist to be concerned about your garden flooding and the amount of traffic that it will cause in the overcrowded roads in that area.”

Dan Roberts said burial land should be for everyone.

“I don’t agree that it should be given over to just one denomination exclusively,” he continued.

“I don’t like the idea or thought of having people cremated because they didn’t have the option to be buried somewhere because of someone else’s beliefs.”

But Nora Simmonite commented: “There are Jewish cemeteries that no one else can be buried in.”

Elm Park resident, Patricia Cartmerr said: “I think its necessary. It’s land that’s being wasted. The other two sites are absolutely beautiful. They’re really lovely.”

Mr Ismail continued: “We will work with the council and community every step of the way.”

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