United Kingdom

Coronavirus UK: Second huge mortuary built in east London

A second vast mortuary is being built in east London on a site previously used to store rubbish trucks, MailOnline can reveal.

Workers in Waltham Forest are preparing three large white tents to house the bodies of coronavirus victims, which could arrive as early as Sunday.

It comes two days after MailOnline disclosed a morgue the size of two football fields was being developed at Manor Park in the neighbouring borough of Newham. 

Workers in Waltham Forest are preparing three large white tents to house the bodies of coronavirus victims, which could arrive as early as Sunday

The new site, at Low Hall Depot in Leyton, spreads over nearly 10 acres of land, close to houses, a primary school and a sports ground

Bodies will be stored in three large separate marquee-style buildings and sources said lines of metal racks were being installed to form shelving for the body bags

Waltham Forest Council runs several services from the plot, including the storage of refuse trucks while a sewage plant is located nearby 

The new site, at Low Hall Depot in Leyton, spreads over nearly 10 acres of land, close to houses, a primary school and a sports ground.

Waltham Forest Council runs several services from the plot, including the storage of refuse trucks while a sewage plant is located nearby.

It is six miles from the new Nightingale Hospital at Excel, which will be able to care for 4,000 victims and was officially opened today by Prince Charles.

Bodies will be stored in three large separate marquee-style buildings and sources said lines of metal racks were being installed to form shelving for the body bags.

The huge white buildings can be seen from nearby houses but residents were not aware of their purpose.

NHS social worker Lynn, who lives nearby, said: 'We have not been told what they are for. I don't know why that is.

The huge white buildings can be seen from nearby houses but residents were not aware of their purpose 

NHS social worker Lynn, who lives nearby, said: 'We have not been told what they are for. I don't know why that is'

'But they have to be stored somewhere and a respectable level of care has to be shown to the dead at the same time.

'This is a quiet area and the depot is tucked away from the main roads, so I suppose that is why they have chosen it.'

But another resident, who lives in adjacent Telford Close, said: 'I can see the mortuary from where I am standing.

'They started building them on Tuesday and I didn't know what they were for. But then there is a lot of work going on there and you hardly pay any attention.

'It would have been nice to have been given a letter explaining things by the council. I will worry about how the bodies coming here. It gives a very depressing outlook on life and death at the moment.'

A source inside the depot added: 'It has all been done with quick precision and the buildings went up very quickly.

A source inside the depot added: 'It has all been done with quick precision and the buildings went up very quickly'

The new morgue is on land earmarked for 450 new homes which are due to be completed in autumn 2024

'There are lorries arriving with machinery to keep the bodies cold and from decomposing and boxes and boxes of uniforms and technical apparatus probably for morticians.

'A set of road markings and overlay have been put down so the vehicles carrying the bodies can pass over the land which is rough in many places.

'I would say there have been around 100 people involved in building the morgues over an area of about 100 meters. The contractors have just got on with the job with minimum fuss.

The new morgue is on land earmarked for 450 new homes which are due to be completed in autumn 2024.

Disused and rundown buildings on the site have already been demolished.

On its website, Waltham Forest Council states: 'The depot is a busy operational site with multiple co-located occupiers working for or on behalf of the Council.

'Although functional, the majority of the buildings are in a poor state of repair with significant reinvestment needed.

'There are also some Health and Safety matters, which were highlighted in a recently-commissioned audit report and need addressing. It is a large site with much underused land.'

On Wednesday, MailOnline revealed a large mortuary was being erected on Epping Forest land at Manor Park.

It comes two days after MailOnline disclosed a morgue the size of two football fields was being developed at Manor Park in the neighbouring borough of Newham (pictured)

The Newham mortuary, about the size of two football pitches, is being developed on forest land close to the City of London crematorium and cemetery

The Newham site is also expected to take the dead from the new Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel Centre

Close to the City of London crematorium and cemetery, it is expected to take the dead from the new Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel Centre.

The morgue's proximity to the hospital, which is less than three miles away, and the cemetery has been planned to make it easier to ferry bodies from the temporary mortuary to their final resting place.

Newham mayor Ms Rokhsana Fiaz wrote to residents informing them of the solemn buildings appearing opposite their homes.

She said: 'The facility will act as a holding point before a respectful and dignified cremation or burial can take place to send a loved one on their final journey.'

But she warned families of coronavirus victims: 'Sadly relatives will not be able to visit the site.'

The new site in Waltham Forest is six miles from the new Nightingale Hospital at Excel (pictured), which will be able to care for 4,000 victims and was officially opened today by Prince Charles

She added: 'They (Public Health England) have also strongly advised that mourners should not take part in any rituals or practices that bring them into close contact with the body of the person who has died from or with symptoms of oronavirus since there is a small but real risk of transmission from the body of a deceased person.'

A spokesman for London's Strategic Coordination Group, said:'We hope people will appreciate that we are in a fast moving and difficult situation.

'To deal with the COVID-19 pandemic several temporary mortuary sites had to be identified as part of London's strategic resilience response.

'We understand people's wish for information and we are in ongoing dialogue with local authorities and representatives of faith communities in London.

'Our top priority is to ensure an effective, dignified and respectful process for all those who have died and all those who have lost a loved one.'

Waltham Forest Council have been approached for comment.

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