BODIES from a Blackburn graveyard will be removed to make way for the last section of the town’s ring road.

The remains from St Peter Street graves will be exhumed over the next few weeks but Blackburn with Darwen Council have not said where they will be re-buried.

The work, which started this week, will see the town’s £12million ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ have a destination six years after its construction started.

The Wainwright Bridge, which was started in 2006, will link up with the rest of the town centre ring road.

The council said it expected to discover exactly how many bodies were buried at the site and how old the graves are during the removal.

Coun Maureen Bateson, executive member for regeneration, said: “A specialist investigation by Oxford Archaeology has started this week into the removal of the remains in the churchyard, and this should be completed in the next few weeks.

“The highest respect will be afforded to the remains of these people.

“We will be working under Ministry of Justice guidelines to make sure there is as little disruption to them as possible and they will receive a proper and respectful re-burial.”

The work was given the go-ahead in September following the Blackburn Spiritualist Church’s agreement to sell its site in a deal worth up to £800,000.

Coun David Foster, Liberal Democrat group leader at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “It’s a shame that the ring road has to go through this site and our suggestions of where else it should go were just dismissed.

“We are not talking about somebody’s rubbish, we are talking about people who were once loved and cared for and that needs to be remembered.

“It’s a regrettable situation and I hope the council are talking to the church to make sure that the whole process is respectful.”