WORK is expected to start this summer on a new Leeds cemetery amid fears it could cause traffic congestion on the busy A64.
Councillors have agreed £309,000 can be spent on creating a five-acre cemetery at Whinmoor Grange, off York road, near Thorner, to increase burial space in north east Leeds.
Harehills Cemetery, which serves the area, has only 270 multi-faith plots left – about 20 months supply – and the Muslim burial area has about four years supply remaining.
Whinmoor Grange was originally earmarked for a 46-acre cemetery, a plan which attracted much opposition and was dropped when the council agreed smaller, locally-based cemeteries were preferable.
The council’s Executive Board agreed in 2008 to a five-acre cemetery at Whinmoor Grange and now preparations are being made for the scheme to get underway.
Public consultation is to be held on a draft planning statement which would allow for the cemetery and the possible relocation of the council’s growing nurseries from Red Hall to Whinmoor Grange.
A timetable presented to the board’s latest meeting indicates work could start in July with the first burials held in March 2012.
The report also revealed the council was preparing a planning application for a four-acre cemetery at the former Elmete caravan park in Roundhay.
Conservative councillors for Harewood, whose ward includes Whinmoor Grange, have raised concerns about the scheme.
Coun Matthew Robinson said: “The impact this will have on the A64 must also be a consideration. Cars, particularly funeral corteges, turning into Thorner Lane from York Road would slow the traffic flow right down, possibly to stand still all of which could encourage reckless driving.”
Coun Rachael Procter argued the proposed location next to sports pitches was unsuitable, while Coun Ann Castle said there should have been more consultation with parish councils.
Coun John Procter said he was concerned a design and cost report was being approved at this stage.