WORK to build a new cemetery in Rowley Regis is set to start this month.

Surveys and the installation of signs will start on open space off Powke Lane, close to the existing cemetery and crematorium, in August.

It is hoped that the new facilties will serve Sandwell for the next fifty years.

Main construction and landscaping work will then begin in early 2021 and is expected to be completed by January 2022.

Plans include space for burials, an office building and toilets for staff and mourners.

Work on the new cemetery will see more than 70% of the existing green area remain as public open space and public rights of way will also be maintained.

Deputy Leader of Sandwell Council, Councillor Maria Crompton, said: “Without this new site, we’re facing the possibility of families being unable to bury their loved ones here in the not too distant future.

“It will take up less than 30 per cent of the green space we’re using, and the rest of the area will still be open to the public for walks and other activities. The cemetery and the surrounding open space will still be a sanctuary for wildlife.

“Work will be carried out with the minimum of disruption to residents and we’ll be focussing on not only improving the open space that remains accessible to residents, but also boosting the ecological value of the site.”