WORK to expand the district's main Muslim burial ground will start later this year, Council bosses have been told.

As part of the major shake up of Bradford's bereavement services, the existing Muslim Burial Ground at Scholemoor will be expanded onto a neighbouring plot of empty land.

It will create an extra capacity for five to six years of burials.

At a meeting of Bradford Council's Executive yesterday, members were told that work on the site, former allotment land, would start later this year.

The bereavement policy also includes the refurbishment of Oakworth Crematorium and the construction of two new crematorium in the district, replacing dated Nab Wood and Scholemoor Crematoria.

The Council for Mosques has been working with Bradford Council to identify a suitable site for the burial ground, and say more space is needed to due increasing demand for local burials, and a decline in the number of people being repatriated.

Muslim burials rise in Bradford with plans for Scholemoor expansion

Councillor Imran Khan, portfolio holder for Education, said: "The new site will be next to the existing cemetery. The Council of Mosques has done great work to help move this forward. Death is the only thing we are all guaranteed of, and it is great that everyone has come together to get these plans sorted and that work will start this year."

A report to the committee said: "Significant site clearance work has been necessary to allow access to this derelict and overgrown allotment site in order to carry out the ground surveys required to inform the proposed design and subsequent planning application.

"Discussions with the Forestry Commission were completed in February to allow clearance work as the site had been classified as woodland cover due to the number of self-seeded trees.

"The Council’s trees and woodlands service has now completed the above ground clearance and the site survey has been completed.

"Change of use planning permission is expected to be submitted within the next six weeks with construction work planned to start in late autumn."