Sandwell’s newest cemetery – which will secure burials in the borough for decades to come – has been officially opened in Rowley Regis.
The new Canalside Cemetery is off Powke Lane, a short distance from the existing cemetery and crematorium.
Work to create the new cemetery, which has an office building with toilets for mourners, car parking and CCTV, has also improved the surrounding open space.
The existing woodland and grassland habitats have been improved and new woodland, wildflower meadow and wetland habitats have been created. A new pedestrian crossing has also been installed on Powke Lane to make access safer for pedestrians.
The new cemetery was officially opened this week by the Mayor of Sandwell, Councillor Richard Jones, at a short ceremony also attended by the Leader of the Council, local councillors, bereavement services staff, representatives from faith communities, the council’s construction partner O’Brien Contractors Ltd and funeral directors.
Sandwell Council’s Cabinet member for communities Councillor Danny Millard, who is responsible for bereavement services, said: “Until we created this new cemetery, we were rapidly running out of burial space.
“Residents would have been facing the heart-breaking possibility of having to travel to other areas to bury their loved ones.
“The major improvements that we’ve done to the surrounding area means there is not only some fantastic nature habitats, we have also secured the future of the open space for walking and other activities.”
Leader of Sandwell Council Councillor Kerrie Carmichael added: “The project has made major improvements to the ecological value of the whole site, including enhancing the existing wooded areas and improving the former canal arm – which the cemetery is named after.
“The public rights of way have been maintained across the site and the rest of the space is open to the public.
“Not only is the new cemetery a peaceful resting place, it’s a much-improved open space for the community.”
Local companies and contractors worked on the £2million project, including staff living within walking distance of Powke Lane and Black Country-based suppliers.
Stuart Chamberlain, Director at O’Brien Contractors Ltd who carried out the construction of the new cemetery, said: “It has been rewarding to be part of the Sandwell team working on such an important civic facility and has been made more satisfying that it has been delivered by local tradesmen and suppliers for their community.”
Source: Sandwell Council Press Release