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Stafford showground could become temporary mortuary during Covid-19 pandemic

By Kerry Ashdown | Stafford | News | Published:

The biggest agricultural showground in Staffordshire could become a temporary mortuary as part of measures to deal with an expected surge in deaths during the coronavirus pandemic.

The County Showground is usually used for major events such as this dog show

A Staffordshire County Council committee has approved the plan for the temporary use of the 60-acre County Showground, on Weston Road, Stafford.

A ‘reserve site’ has been identified at Alrewas Hayes Grain Store, near Burton.

Details of the measures emerged in the minutes of a private meeting of Staffordshire County Council’s property sub-committee.

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The draft minutes state: “As part of the civil contingency response to the coronavirus epidemic currently experienced nationally, the county council was required to identify and secure the use of temporary mortuary facilities.

“Staffordshire County Showground has been identified as suitable for use in the immediate future, if required.”

Following the meeting, Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said: “In a major incident, such as managing the coronavirus pandemic, local authorities across the country are required to put emergency planning measures into place to deal with any unexpected increase in deaths and Staffordshire is no exception.

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“While, of course, we all hope that these contingency measures will not be needed, it is important that we are prepared and able to treat the death of any resident with dignity and compassion regardless of these unprecedented circumstances.”

A temporary mortuary is already being built at a hangar Birmingham Airport with an initial capacity for 1,500 bodies.

Staffordshire County Showground had been due to host this year’s Staffordshire County Show on May 27 and 28.

But the event, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each day and has history dating back more than 200 years, has been cancelled.

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Other axed events include the National Dog Show and the Number One Events Antique Fair.

The county showground site is owned by Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society. It declined to comment on the mortuary plan when approached.

Existing facilities at the county showground include a specially enclosed and refrigerated hall next to the main exhibition area in Bingley Hall.

Kerry Ashdown

By Kerry Ashdown

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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