Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Row over Leicester cemetery extension plan

Gilroes Cemetery
Opponents say extending the cemetery will take up community land

Residents opposing the extension of a Leicester cemetery have said they will make their voices heard at a meeting to discuss the plans.

The city council wants to take Gilroes Cemetery into nearby Heathley Park to extend its use by 15 years.

But those living nearby have said it will rob them of recreational space and offend some Hindu residents.

The council said it had a pressing need to extend the cemetery but would listen to householders' concerns.

MP Patricia Hewitt has organised the public meeting on Thursday to discuss the planning application.

Anita Nair, whose house overlooks the land in question, said the move would affect the whole community.

"Children use the field to get to school, otherwise they would have to spend an extra half hour on the Groby Road getting past the traffic and this is a much safer route.

"Children also like to feed the horses here, there are play areas nearby and a big issue is that dog walkers would have to walk their dogs on the streets if the cemetery is extended."

She added that a petition opposing the plan had gathered 450 signatures.

Another nearby resident, Maganlal Patel, said: "Hindus do not live by cemeteries. This is because in the morning when we pray at the sun, we do not want to see all the people who are buried."

But councillor Andy Connelly said it was acceptable to use the land for cemeteries.

"The land near these houses belongs to the council and it was always our intention to use it for extending Gilroes.

"We are listening to residents' concerns and we will put up screening - there is already some screening there - and make it as low key as possible."

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