Plans to expand a cemetery have been given the green light by a council after concerns that it was running out of space.

North Watford Cemetery is set to get additional space after Watford Borough Council agreed during a cabinet meeting yesterday that there was a "pressing need" to expand the site.

A report made by Paul Rabbitts, the council’s head of parks, heritage and culture, said the Covid-19 pandemic has doubled burial and cremation rates – and that one of the cemetery’s “underlying issues” is that it is running out of space.

The report said that while cemetery space is sufficient at present, its capacity will decrease over the coming years, adding that there is a more “pressing need” to find alternative space.

With the expansion having been approved, a total of 273 extra burial spots will be built to the south of the car park and on the green space between the cemetery lodge and depot, including 100 new spaces in the Muslim burial section.

The plans also include building a new ornamental peace garden as well as a columbarium for the interment of up to 200 ashes.

A budget of £700,000 has been allocated for the expansion, with the works set to take place on unused land within the boundaries of the cemetery.

After the plans were approved last night, the council’s Leggatts ward councillor Asif Khan said: “I welcome it's expansion. For a number of years, I have asked for extra burial space as it was running out in the town.

“This was either by providing a new cemetery in Watford, or in this case an expansion of spaces within the current cemetery.

“There will be 273 extra burial pots to the south of the car park and 100 extra spaces in the Muslim section. I am keen to work with the council to further improve the facilities for everyone in Watford."

Watford Mayor Peter Taylor added that he was “delighted” that the council has approved plans to expand the cemetery.

He said: “North Watford Cemetery is a much-loved and important facility that I know brings comfort to many people. It is good that we have been able to provide this additional burial space, as well as alternative ways for people to remember their loved ones.

“These plans give us more time to explore options for future burial space so this remains an option for any residents who would like this choice.”