Cemeteries & Crematoria

The CDS Group achieve planning permission for new Muslim burial ground in Kempston, Bedfordshire

Planning Permission Granted for new Muslim Cemetery

On the 18th of July 2022, planning was granted for a Muslim faith cemetery at Bedford Borough Council Chambers. CDS were the lead consultants on the application; providing environmental, design, project management and planning services to deliver the project. The scheme is set to provide a significant need for burial provision for the Muslim community in Bedfordshire and the application had the support from over 450 local residents. Although the scheme had significant support, there were considerable obstacles and constraints on site which the CDS planning team had to overcome.

One of the first constraints was the high archaeological potential on site. CDS managed this risk carefully by undertaking a Geophysical Survey in the first instance to understand the true risk on site. The geophysical survey highlighted the presence of a ‘ring ditch 'which is essentially a scheduled monument. Due to the high archaeological significance of this feature, CDS designed out this area from any burial provision and designed a tranquil space for external prayers which would also preserve the archaeology. The scheme also required trial trench evaluations across 2% of the site which CDS project managed to ensure the client was aware of the risk significance.

Within 250m of the site, there was a pond which highlighted high potential for Great Crested Newts.  The planning authority statutory requirements state that all sites which have high potential of newts must gain a Great Crested Newt License which would have been significant financial cost for the community. Therefore, CDS worked alongside their ecological consultant, Ecology by Design, to provide a structured rebuttal letter to the planning authority.  This highlighted that, on the basis this site is an agricultural ploughed field, the likelihood of Newts is low, and the proposed scheme will improve the environment for Newts. The planning authority and Natural England subsequently removed their objections.

Concerns were raised over the size and scale of the cemetery building on site, therefore CDS provided multiple rebuttal letters to the Borough Council about the need for such space and the height of the building in relation to neighbouring uses. The building height and design was considered entirely reasonable in respect to the local character and neighbouring uses, this is aside which will be utilised for the next 75-100 years. On this basis the local authority removed their objection.

Following the application process, which spanned across 6 months due to multiple objections, the application reached committee on July the 18, in which the application was presented to the committee. The committee were unanimously in favour, stating: “the planning pack has been presented in a highly professional manner”.

On this scheme, CDS had the pleasure of working with a passionate and driven client, of Gulshan-e-Baghdad, to deliver an outcome which was incredibly meaningful to the community.

Gulshan Site Layout Plan

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