Plans approved to turn office into funeral parlour and mortuary
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Controversial plans to turn an office into 24-hour funeral parlour and mortuary have been approved by councillors despite objections that the business was unsuitable for the location.
Susan Whymark Funeral Service has been given the go-ahead for the building on London Road in Harleston, formerly a chiropractor and most recently a design studio, after planners agreed to a change of use for the premise from an office to a shop.
The change was unanimously approved on Wednesday by members of South Norfolk Council's development management committee who considered it after district councillors Jeremy Savage and Brian Riches both highlighted that the plans were contentious.
Fourteen people formally objected to the plans citing concerns reason including traffic concerns, that the undertakers would operate 24-hours and that a funeral business would be unsuitable in the street.
Michael and Elaine Taylor, of London Road, stated: 'We do not want to look out of the window and see body bags going in and out, not a very nice view in a residential street, for ourselves or our neighbours. Also this part of the road is constantly being used by school children of all ages going both schools in the area. We do not think children should be witnessing this sort of thing on a daily basis.'
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Catherine Corby-Tuech and Nick Holmes, also of London Road, stated: 'Corpses being delivered to or departing whether in coffins, body bags or on trolleys, will be in full view of the general public. London Road is used mainly by many people walking to and from schools, shops and the town reaction ground.'
Julia Feaviour, who lives in nearby Love Lane, said: 'This proposal to change the use of these premises from an office setting to that dealing, however sensitively, with dead bodies will have a seriously detrimental impact.'
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Mainly based in Eye, Susan Whymark Funeral Service opened a Harleston branch in 2010 from which it has conducted 354 funerals.
In their submission the business said as their current Harleston office has no mortuary facility the deceased have to be taken to Eye, but under the plans they could be taken to the new London Road site. Embalming would not be carried out in Harleston as there is not enough room, they added.