Work is underway to build a temporary mortuary in Basingstoke as part of the response to rising cases.

As previously reported by The Gazette, an agreement has been struck between authorities to develop a morgue in Winklebury.

And Hampshire County Council has confirmed to the BBC development is underway.

A spokesman for the authority acknowledged that while cases are currently low, it is a precautionary measure.

Winklebury has been chosen for its "central location" as the site will serve the whole of Hampshire. 

Bodies will be stored in a former retail unit near Aldi in Winklebury should morgues across the county not be able to cope in the event of an increase in Covid-19 deaths.

It will serve all of Hampshire, including Southampton and Portsmouth, and replaces the facility set up at Southampton Airport in April.

The town's MP, Maria Miller, previously lodged a formal complaint with Public Health Hampshire about the site.

The former retail unit on Winklebury Way is located next to an Aldi superstore and opposite a pub and primary school.

It was how close the site was to the community of Winklebury that prompted Mrs Miller to make her complaint.

Speaking previously, Mrs Miller told The Gazette: “It is difficult to believe that Public Health Hampshire could be proposing to place a Covid19 mortuary in the heart of a residential community, next door to the local food supermarket and across the street from a local school.

"I have lodged a formal complaint with Public Health Hampshire and asked for them to change their proposed location immediately. There has been no local consultation on the appropriateness of this site or the proposed change of use of a building which was previously used as a retail unit.

“It is not good enough to say the mortuary is only temporary capacity and simply a precaution. Winklebury residents deserve better and do not need the worry that, in the worst case, bodies awaiting burial will be stored in the midst of the community.”