THE final go-ahead for a £1million doubling of the size of Pleasington Cemetery in Blackburn and upgrading of its crematorium has been given.

Work will start in May next year.

The year-long scheme, has received the final detailed approval from Blackburn with Darwen planning committee.

The cemetery off Tower Road is expected to be full by 2015, and more space is needed for burials before the borough runs out of plots. Around 500 burials a year take place in two of the borough’s five cemeteries – 400 of them at Pleasington.

Blackburn with Darwen council will now extend the 9,000 grave site into land at nearby Lower Fold, to provide 2,500 plots providing for burials over the following decade.

Work will also to extend the crematorium and replace equipment to reduce harmful mercury emissions by 50 per cent by May.

Borough environment boss Faryad Hussain said: “These are two very important pieces of work.

“No graves will be disturbed while the work goes on.”