- Plans submitted for 4th time for a cemetery for 5,040 graves at rural village
- Residents of Catherine-de-Barnes say they 'don't have infrastructure for it'
- They also complained about greenbelt land being used for graveyard
- But cemetery service said there was a cultural need as space is 'running out'
Residents have slammed plans to build one of Britain's biggest Muslim-only cemeteries with more than 5,000 graves next to a village with a population of just 613.
If the controversial plans are approved, it would mean the cemetery in Catherine-de-Barnes, West Midlands, would eventually hold more than eight times as many people as the village itself.
Locals living in the picturesque village say they are outraged by the plans and claim there is 'no need' for the cemetery in their hamlet.
Concerns have been raised about the impact it will have on traffic as well as surrounding fertile greenbelt land.
Figures published in June last year reveal there are around 5,247 Muslims living in the nearest town of Solihull - making up 2.5 per cent of the total population.
The graveyard would have 63 parking spaces and comply fully with Sharia law, which states Muslims are buried in their own section of land, next to others of the same faith.
Islamic law also stipulates a method of bathing and shrouding the bodies before being buried with their heads facing towards Mecca.
Graves have no headstones, instead having a plaque on top of a mound of soil.
Previous plans to build the dedicated burial ground at Woodhouse Farm were rejected twice by Solihull Council and withdrawn once by the Cemetery Development Service.
But the proposals have now been resubmitted for a fourth time following a change in planning laws which means cemeteries are no longer considered 'inappropriate developments' on greenbelt land.
A date has not yet been set for the application hearing but it will be considered in the next few months.
Mac McMahon, 68, a retired sales worker who has lived in the village for 37 years, said: 'I don't know anyone in the village who wants it. The infrastructure isn't there.
'There is no public transport meaning more traffic. Then there is the water table. Water is very low under the ground there.
'There's plenty of capacity in cemeteries around us.
'It is still green belt land, and they keep nibbling away at it. I don't want it. I don't think it should be there.
'Maybe 98 per cent don't want it and two per cent don't care.'
Fellow resident Trevor Desmond, 69, a retired engineer who has lived in the village for 44 years, said: 'We are talking about the green belt. Secondly, there is an increase in traffic.
'All the new traffic will come through the village.'
Conservative councillor Bob Sleigh, former leader of Solihull Council, said he felt the needs of residents could already be met at the borough's current plots.
He said: 'I don't see how the new application is justified.
'The scale of this has been quite concerning to residents, particularly the traffic issues there.
'At this point in time we have provision in Solihull.'
Trevor Eames, secretary of Solihull Ratepayers Association said: 'We recognise the importance to cater for the cultural needs of the Muslim community and other faiths but it is also clear these can be catered for best by larger dedicated burial grounds on a regional basis.
'While numbers of ethnic minorities within the borough may be increasing particularly among the younger generation there is not an unmet need at the present time that can justify the level of provision being proposed by this application at Catherine-de-Barnes.'
But the Cemetery Development Service, which submitted the plans on behalf of the Muslim community, states there is only provision in Solihull for up to 25 years.
Director Justin Smith estimated the new cemetery would meet the needs of the Muslim community for 30 to 40 years.
Mr Smith said: 'The amount of burial space left in Solihull is rapidly running out.
'There is also definitely a cultural need for a Sharia law cemetery.
'You have Roman Catholic cemeteries, Jewish cemeteries. There is no reason why there shouldn't be a Muslim burial site.
'A change to the National Planning Policy Framework statute this year means cemeteries are no longer inappropriate developments for the green belt.
'We have had death threats from right wing organisations. One email said "the first graves in that graveyard will be yours". It's very sensitive because of what it is.'