Neighbours blast ‘morbid’ proposal

Bank House, Alexandria Road, St Annes
Bank House, Alexandria Road, St Annes
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NEIGHBOURS are opposing plans to a turn a former bank into a funeral home – because it may make them depressed.

Close to 40 letters, as well as a petition signed by 29 people, have been sent to Fylde Council by homeowners near Bank House on Alexandria Drive, St Annes, regarding a proposed change of use of the building to an undertaker’s chapel of rest.

Residents have reacted angrily to the plans by D Hollowell and Sons, saying that there are several issues with traffic and parking, as well as the building’s use not being appropriate for a residential area and that it is a “morbid reminder of death and mortality”.

Other complaints include fears of slow moving funeral corteges, a fear the presence of grieving relatives could lead to depression and anxiety and that the unloading of bodies could be visible.

Coun Cheryl Little, who represents Fairhaven, said: “It is an emotive and sensitive issue, in particular with grieving families in mind.

“It is difficult for the neighbours, but I support the residents with their views.”

The plans were set to be debated by councillors on Fylde’s Development Management Committee yesterday, but were deferred for more information about access to the back of the building – where coffins would be loaded onto the hearse.

The committee’s chairman, Coun Ben Aitken, said the plans showed a “lack of correct information for local residents”.

He added: “I spoke with one of the planners who had been involved in long discussions with the residents. They have formed an action group because of their concerns regarding this prospective development.

“There is a problem regarding parking and access down the drive way between the so called bank and the building next door on Alexandria Drive.”

He said the councillors and residents needed more information about a driveway leading up to the side of the building, and a fence or wall which needed to be built to allow for discretion while transporting coffins.

Coun Aitken added: “We immediately listened to what was said at the meeting and decided to defer the application for more information to be forthcoming.

“There was no objection from the applicants because they want to have a careful presentation for the local residents. They don’t want to upset them.

“This is a very discrete type of business.”

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