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Upminster Cemetery is to be expanded to meet a shortage of local burial space.

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Approval was given to a plan to expand the Ockenden Road site at Havering Council’s regulatory services meeting on Thursday last week.

The expansion of the borough’s only currently open cemetery will enable 5,716 burials to take place over the next 20 years.

Romford Cemetery in Crow Lane is currently closed to new burials due to problems with its water table.

At the meeting, committee member Cllr Ron Ower (Residents’ Association, Upminster), said: “We have a concern about the impact this could have on the nearby Cranham Chase Marsh.”

A council officer replied that the expansion would involve the installation of a water pumping system to prevent contamination.

The expansion – which will turn former farmland into a graveyard – will see sheet metal structures places underground, along with a network of pipes, to prevent both the graves getting wet and nearby land being contaminated.

A new toilet block and six buildings to house the pumping equipment will also be installed.

The plan was passed unanimously by the committee but it is still subject to ministerial approval as it is on green belt land.

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