CONFUSION surrounds the status of a city Muslim cemetery after it was revealed planning permission was granted more than 40 years ago despite it being asked to apply for permission again.

The retrospective application for permission to use Worcester Muslim Cemetery as burial land, which was submitted last week, said the site had been in use since 2005 without planning permission.

Planners at Worcester City Council said the cemetery required the correct planning permission before plans for a 785-plot extension could be submitted.

The details of the planning permission granted in 1978 have not been revealed.

A spokesman for Worcester City Council said: “A planning permission was granted in 1978. At that time the land was leased from the city council.

“Subsequently the city council transferred ownership of the site to the cemetery trustees in 2012.

“We are now working with the trustees to understand the terms of the implementation of that original planning consent and the development of the site subsequently.

“As this is a live planning application we cannot comment further.”

Applicant Councillor Allah Ditta, the mayor of Worcester, did not provide an explanation as to why the cemetery didn't gain planning permission in 2005 when asked about the retrospective application and the new expansion proposals.

A new pavilion and a peace garden would all be built at the cemetery located off John Comyn Drive, if the new plans for expansion are backed.

A new building at the entrance off John Comyn Drive would also be built to house a small office, mortuary, toilets and a washing area.

Several shelters would also be built throughout the cemetery for visitors during bad weather.

The cemetery would be extended in three phases, if the plans were approved.

The first phase would see 172 burial plots built as well as the main building at the cemetery’s entrance and pavilion. The second phase to the north of the site would see a further 388 burial plots built before a third phase of 275 plots are built.

The extension would be built on overgrown scrub land which borders Droitwich Road allotments and Perdiswell golf course.

The plans can be viewed via the planning section of the city council’s website. The application number is 19/00561/FUL.