Temporary mortuary that was set up at Essex park and ride site in case of coronavirus pandemic deaths was not needed and is to be taken down

Essex County Council

Essex County Council - Credit: Essex County Council

A temporary mortuary which was set up at the closed park and ride site at Chelmer Valley, outside Chelmsford, has not been needed and is to be taken down by the end of June.

BJ Harrington of Essex Police. Picture: Essex Police

BJ Harrington of Essex Police. Picture: Essex Police - Credit: Gary Kenton

It was built in case there were more deaths during the coronavirus pandemic than hospitals and funeral directors in Essex, Southend and Thurrock could cope with.

Essex County Council commissioned the temporary mortuary as part of the emergency plan for responding to the pandemic.

The Essex Resilience Forum has managed the countywide work against Covid-19.

One of the forum joint chairs, Essex Police Chief Constable BJ Harrington, said: “The combined work across greater Essex from those working in the NHS, in care homes and as carers, has meant that this county has not seen the worst possible impact of this dreadful disease coming to pass so this means the necessary preparations at the Chelmer Valley Park and Ride site have not been needed.

“Sadly people across our county have lost their lives to this awful virus and I would like to extend my sympathies to their relatives on behalf of the ERF.

“I would also like to say thank you for the professionalism of colleagues including our funeral directors, crematoria and the NHS in ensuring we have, and will continue to have, a compassionate, respectful and effective system to look after and lay to rest the victims of this virus in Essex.

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“While this site will be decommissioned, our need to be alert to the risk of the virus remains. The temporary mortuary was built so we were ready for the worst. I am relieved we haven’t needed it, and that’s thanks to the efforts of everyone, including those health and care workers and everyone who has pulled together to protect each other and save lives.”

Chelmer Valley and other park and ride sites are currently closed until the end of June. A decision on when they can re-open is expected to be made this month.