Update 14 January 2021: The application has been withdrawn.
Hyndburn Council has been recommended to refuse the Issa Foundation’s application to create an 84-acre burial site on Green Belt.
The Issa Foundation is a charity created by billionaire brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa.
The proposed Issa Memorial Garden cemetery would be located off Blackburn Road in Oswaldtwistle and, while designed to address the needs of the Muslim community, it would be open to all faiths. The cemetery would have 35,000 burial plots.
Plans also include a funeral parlour and prayer pavilions with prayer halls, condolence rooms and ablutions area. There would also be a general maintenance building and a separate equipment storage building. Altogether, the buildings would have 15,500 sq ft of internal floor space.
There would also be a 663-space car park, including seven for those who are disabled.
Planning officers stated that the development would have an adverse impact on the openness of the Green Belt, the rural and historic landscape, and the setting of nearby grade two-listed buildings Knuzden Hall and Knuzden Hall Farmhouse. Officers also stated that the application did not provide sufficient information on the risk of pollution to groundwater, the impact on protected species, and the impacts on the road network.
While the application had argued there was a clear need for burial space for the Muslim community, noting that the Islamic faith does not permit cremations, planning officers argued that the application had failed to adequately demonstrate that need.
The scheme has also proven controversial, with hundreds of letters of objection being submitted to the council. A group of Lancashire residents have also banded together to form the Say No To The Cemetery movement, which has raised more than £15,000 to oppose the cemetery plans.
Atticus Planning is the planning consultant for the project. Archi-Structure designed the scheme.
The Issa Memorial Garden application will be discussed at the 19 January planning committee meeting.
Looking to learn more? The application’s reference number with Hyndburn Council is 11/21/0622.