CITY mayor Allah Ditta has avoided answering questions about whether the land at Worcester’s Muslim Cemetery is suitable for burying corpses - saying he cannot comment because he is the applicant.

Mayor of Worcester Councillor Ditta did not respond to several requests for explanations regarding the safety of the land at Worcester Muslim Cemetery, in John Comyn Drive, after the Environment Agency strongly objected to expansion plans and a retrospective application for planning permission, due to its major fears that coffins could leak into the city’s water.

Cllr Ditta says he has been told by the council not to comment on the cemetery plans as it is a live planning application and he is the applicant.

Although Cllr Ditta's name is the only one to appear on both planning applications requesting retrospective permission for a plot of land within the current cemetery and the planned 785-plot expansion, he says he is not the sole person responsible for the cemetery.

Cllr Ditta has reiterated that he was the spokesman for the rest of the management board.

Earlier this month, Cllr Ditta said he was not aware of the Environment Agency’s concerns on the safety of the cemetery’s land despite being the applicant. He was asked to comment on both the first story revealing the retrospective planning application in September last year and the latest story revealing the Environment Agency’s concerns on January 20, and declined both times.

Cllr Ditta later said he would be prepared to discuss the application – along with others from the Worcester Muslim Welfare Association and people involved in the management of Worcester Muslim Cemetery – but has now said he can't.

Ownership of the cemetery land was transferred from the city council to the nominated trustees - Worcester Muslim Welfare Association, the Al Madina Islamic Centre and the Jalalabad Association - in September 2012. The application was submitted at the start of September last year and the site has been in use since 2005 without proper permission.