EXTRA space has been allocated within a cemetery to accommodate Muslim burials for the foreseeable future.

Burnley Council has granted extra provision at Burnley Cemetery near Rossendale Road.

Discussions have taken place between the Muslim community and the council on looking at a space to carry out future burials, with the current plot almost at maximum capacity.

Cllr Mohammed Ishtiaq, who represents Queensgate on Burnley Council, said he has been leading the task to find a new space on behalf of other Muslim leaders and residents.

He said: “We are really pleased with the outcome.

“I am thankful for the work the council officers and the administration team have put in.

“It’s difficult to quantify, but we believe there is space for around 200 graves and this will be sufficient for the next few years. We are very, very happy.”

Former Burnley councillor Mozaquir Ali said he has campaigned for more space in the cemetery since the mid-1990s. He said an initial space allocated by the council was rejected at a meeting earlier this month.

He claimed the space was not fit for purpose due to it being almost at maximum capacity, and the site being slightly sloped.

Commenting on the new space, Mr Ali said: “The Muslim community is overwhelmingly pleased with the council’s decision offering a suitable and fitting site for Muslim burial which we visited on Monday afternoon.

“This is an outcome of our struggle, culmination of meetings and dialogue with the council for many years.

“We are heartened with the fact that we can now bury our loved and dear ones on a more appropriate and suitable ground.”

A Burnley Council spokesman said: “We’ve worked with the Muslim community to find a solution to this issue and identify another part of the cemetery that is acceptable to everyone.

“We’re committed to ensure the cemetery meets the needs of all residents no matter what religious beliefs, or not, they may have, so they can bury a loved one locally rather than have to travel to Blackburn or further afield.”