Plans for North Wales’ first temporary mortuary catering for a potentially steep rise in deaths from coronavirus have been unveiled.

The industrial units on Mochdre Commerce Park have been earmarked as a “respectful and dignified holding point before funerals take place”, if hospitals and funeral directors become unable to cope with the number of Covid-19- related deaths.

The decision was taken by the North Wales Local Resilience Forum, a body comprising local authorities, Welsh Government, emergency services and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

Those involved in the plan were keen to stress it was a contingency which they hoped would not be needed and would act as a central point for the whole of North Wales.

Iwan Davies, chief executive of Conwy council, which already leases the units, said: “Whilst we are all hoping for the best, the Resilience Forum must plan for the worst case scenario and setting up this facility is part of those arrangements.

“The aim is to take the pressure off crematoria and cemeteries across the region.”

All six North Wales councils are working with North Wales Police, coroners, funeral directors and registrars to get the facility up and running.

Because of social distancing rules relatives will not be allowed to visit the site if and when it is needed.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “It is important we make preparations for handling an increased number of deaths, to ensure people are treated with the utmost dignity and respect, while also taking steps to ensure the system continues to work effectively to protect public health.

“We are enhancing current arrangements as a contingency.”

The units at Mochdre Commerce Park had been laying dormant after problems with the floors meant they couldn’t be used by Conwy council for their original purpose of storing heavy goods vehicles.

Work will begin soon to make sure the units are adapted to take on their new role.

Conwy council leader Sam Rowlands said: “These are difficult times and there are many choices we are having to make at the moment which we would never have imagined just a few months ago.

“We have said all through this we will support the effort in fighting this virus in whatever way we can and that’s why we are offering this site for use.”