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New developer steps in to rescue Rainham cemetery plans

PUBLISHED: 17:21 09 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:26 09 November 2017

Rainham Cemetery, in Upminster Road North. The Eastern London Cemetery is planned for the vacant land to the west. Picture: Ken Mears

Rainham Cemetery, in Upminster Road North. The Eastern London Cemetery is planned for the vacant land to the west. Picture: Ken Mears

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A new developer is buying the Eastern London Cemetery in Rainham, which has stood vacant for the past 18 months despite a raft of plots sold to keen investors.

Vacant land to the west of Rainham Cemetery Vacant land to the west of Rainham Cemetery

In 2016 Memorial Gardens Ltd arranged to buy the spare land to the west of Rainham Cemetery, Upminster Road North, from the Federation of Synagogues for £8.3million.

Birmingham-based Harley Investments sold plots for £2,400 each, promising a 40 per cent return within two years due to the shortage in London of burial space.

Development on the new cemetery was supposed to start this year, however the fields remain empty and the only sign of any proposals is an investment advert pinned outside.

However the Recorder can reveal a new company Elysium (Rainham) is about to complete the purchase of the land from the Federation of Synagogues.

A possible design for the Eastern London Cemetery in Rainham. Picture: Liz Lake Associates A possible design for the Eastern London Cemetery in Rainham. Picture: Liz Lake Associates

The deal with Memorial Gardens Ltd could not be completed, and Elysium (Rainham) has stepped in with funds in place to fully develop the land.

It is proposing three separate areas for faiths – Roman Catholic, Islam and Judaism – as well as a circular central hub with views out across the whole cemetery.

It will be open and staffed 24 hours, allowing grieving families and friends to attend at any time.

“All of that should be of huge comfort to the investors,” Elysium’s Daniel Moretti, 52, told the Recorder.

“We are committed to developing an up scale cemetery which we hope will be the cemetery of choice in our area.”

Mr Moretti has built two cemeteries in Canada – in Toronto and Calgary – and believes that due to the lack of burial space in east London the timing couldn’t be better.

He said he hopes to speak to every investor, of which there are thought to be around 400, before the purchase is complete by Christmas.

“I intend to honour the ownership structures of the investors and work with them to enable an easy exit in the near term.”

The cemetery should open by March 2018, with the chapel finished by July.

Elysium (Rainham) has the option of extending it, and is also preparing a planning application for mixed housing on the land by New Road.

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