NEW plans to build a Muslim cemetery in Oswaldtwistle have been revealed.

The Issa Memorial Garden (Muslim Cemetery & Pavilion) for the Issa Foundation will be located off Blackburn Road, near West End Business Park

A planning application has now been registered with Hyndburn Council for the formation of ‘35,000 burial plots’.

The application site covers an area of 84 acres ­— equivalent to approximately 40 football pitches ­— and lies to the south of Blackburn Road, which is the main route connecting Blackburn and Oswaldtwistle.

There will be a provision for 663 car parking spaces spanning the full length of the site’s northern boundary, parallel with Blackburn Road.

A statement on behalf of the Issa Foundation says the ‘need for Muslim burial plots within the North West of England has become critical, a situation made worse by Covid 19. The proposal is a matter of public interest for the Muslim community and is of strategic importance for the North West area.’

Presently, the main cemeteries in the area are at Pleasington in Blackburn and Burnley Road in Accrington. This new development is aimed to service communities across East Lancashire.

This proposal's aim is to serve the Muslim community in the North West for the next 50 to 100 years.


The Issa Memorial Garden (Muslim Cemetery & Pavilion) for the Issa Foundation

Plans have been registered for the Muslim cemetery off Blackburn Road. (Drawings: Archi-Structure/Issa Foundation)

This site is just up the road from the billionaire Blackburn brothers’ £100million Frontier Park complex which has a service station, several food outlets, a ‘Hampton by Hilton’ hotel and various industrial units.

The cemetery planning application says the area ‘specifically comprises undeveloped agricultural land and lies within the greenbelt. The site is of an undulating nature, with levels rising steeply in a southerly direction.’

The site will see ‘extensive landscaping, both of a strategic and ornamental nature’ and ‘levelling is required to allow for the formation of level graves and retaining structures will be necessary to the south side of the southern most road.’

In addition to this, a main administration single-story building will house the ‘funeral parlour (Ghusal area where the body is washed), prayer pavilions comprising of prayer halls, condolence rooms and ablutions area’.

A staff and general maintenance building and a separate equipment store building, both of which are two storeys, will also be constructed.

The Issa Memorial Garden (Muslim Cemetery & Pavilion) for the Issa Foundation

The front elevation of the buildings (Drawings: Archi-Structure/Issa Foundation)

The planning statement adds: ‘The buildings will be constructed predominantly from natural stone, with some areas timber cladding to the staff / maintenance building.

‘Their overall appearance is contemporary, simplistic and of a high quality architectural finish, yet respecting local character through the use of locally distinctive materials. Combined, the buildings have a total internal floorspace of 1,446 sqm (excludes storage compound).’

They will also be ‘located as close as possible to the site’s northern boundary to limit their visual impact; the buildings are a necessary component to the day-to-day running of the cemetery and have been designed with architectural flair whilst respecting the vernacular, incorporating materials that are distinctive of the local built environment.’


The Issa Memorial Garden (Muslim Cemetery & Pavilion) for the Issa Foundation

The main administration building which includes a male and female area. (Drawings: Archi-Structure/Issa Foundation)

The statement says the ‘site lies close to three Grade II Listed buildings; Knuzden Hall and the attached Knuzden Hall Farmhouse to the south and Stanhill Hall to the south east. The site’s south eastern boundary also lies adjacent to (but outside of) the Stanhill Conservation Area.’ And concludes, ‘Whilst some degree of harm has been found to the setting of two Grade II Listed buildings, this harm is tempered by the significant public benefits on offer.’

The Issa Foundation was established in 2016 as a not for profit charity. The services it provides will include all the transport arrangements for the deceased which will including the pick up of the Janaza (deceased) from the home, hospital or mortuary, transport to the local mosque or Ghusal (washing) facility, where the Ghusal and shrouding will be performed, and then the final transport to the cemetery.

The burial plots would be set oriented ‘towards Qibla’ – Mecca as is Islamic tradition.

All proceeds from the business will be utilised to provide ongoing funeral services within the Muslim Community and none of the directors or the volunteers will benefit financially from the service it offered.