HIGH Wycombe Cemetery is set to be extended to accommodate Muslims’ requirement that graves face Mecca.

The £150,000 move has been put forward by Wycombe District Council over concerns that there will be no more space within Muslim burial sections from April 2012.

Space was sought after The Church of England refused to allow its land to be used for the burials at the Priory Road site.

A report says this aims to ‘meet the needs of the Muslim community with relation to grave design and orientation so that graves are facing towards Mecca’.

A report says: “Enquiries have been made about deconsecrating land but the diocesan office of the Church of England will not allow this.”

The work will involve terracing to form new burial areas, walls, paths and steps for access. It is expected to provide 15 years worth of Muslim burials.

The report says: “If an extension is not provided, Muslim burials will be integrated with other non Christian burials, leading to problems relating to the different orientation of burials and with allowing graves to be domed in areas that are maintained as lawn sections.

“This latter issue would lead to increased costs for mowing and maintenance, not allow for best usage of space and is likely to lead to negative public reaction.”

It would lead to ‘problems relating to the Muslim requirements for graves to face towards Mecca’.

A full ‘equality impact assessment’ was carried out by the council.

The plan was backed by the council’s High Wycombe Town Committee last night.

Councillor Mahboob Hussain said: “We need another site to be ready for the future. I fully support the proposals.”

Work will begin in October or November if approved by the council’s cabinet. The council has a statutory duty to provide burials.

Mecca is a city in Saudi Arabia. It was the birthplace of both the Prophet Muhammad and the site of pilgrimage for millions of Muslims.

Click the link below for the full council report.