Work begins on new multi-faith cemetery in Rainham
PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 February 2019
Construction work to build a multi-faith cemetery has begun in Rainham after years of the land remaining vacant.
The development company, Elysium, bought the land next to the Rainham Jewish Cemetery in Upminster Road North from the Federation of Synagogues in 2017.
Work on the site began this month with the laying of concrete in the soil to create grave liners.
Daniel Moretti, director of Elysium, told the Recorder: “Under the existing consent we have we are now preparing the land, however we’re also in pre-application discussions for the provision of a new chapel on the land with the council.”
When Elysium purchased the land in 2017, Mr Moretti explained that the Rainham company was proposing three separate areas for faiths - Roman Catholicism, Islam and Judaism - as well as a circular central hub with views out across the whole cemetery.
“Instead of 25 years of ongoing digging on site we’re preparing everything at once,” said Mr Moretti.
“We’re putting grave liners into the ground which is very good for the maintenance of the graves. It stops graves collapsing and all the various pollutants from getting into the graves.”
A grave liner or a burial vault is an outer burial container that surrounds and protects the casket from the weight of the earth and ground maintenance machinery.
Residents expressed concerns that the brick gates of the Jewish cemetery had recently been removed.
Avi Lazarus, chief executive of the Federation of Synagogues, explained that the gates to the Jewish cemetery had been removed separately from the ongoing development that is taking place by Elysium.
He said: “The Federation of Synagogues used to have an entrance through Upminster Road and the exit used to be via the land that has now been sold.
“That’s now been cut off and we needed to find another exit that was wide enough.
“We needed to remove the brick gates to create another exit route.”
Councillor Damian White, leader of Havering Council, added: “The removal of the gates would not require planning permission from the council and we are aware of the current works taking place on land next to the cemetery.”