Portsmouth councillor and MP back residents in chapel of rest row

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CITY leaders have joined neighbours in their battle to stop a funeral parlour opening up in a street.

As previously reported in The News, residents in Tangier Road, Copnor, are unhappy with The Southern Co-operative’s plan to convert its existing office into a chapel of rest where bodies can be stored before funerals.

Hundreds of residents have signed a petition and many have voiced their opinions on The News’ website.

The firm’s initial bid to convert the office – which sells coffins and makes funeral arrangements – into a chapel of rest was rejected by the city council’s planning committee in November.

Now Lynne Stagg, councillor for Baffins, has pledged to oppose The Co-op’s plans when the company appeals against the decision at a meeting on February 1.

Cllr Stagg said: ‘I can understand why people are really against this happening.

‘Death was far more accepted years ago, it was a part of life.

‘Attitudes are very different now.

‘My problem is whether the building has enough space to store bodies in.

‘It’s also going to add to the traffic problems that have arisen in the area.

‘I was happy with The Co-op using the building as a retail unit, but this is unacceptable.

‘I encourage residents to send in their objections and hand in their petition ahead of the scheduled meeting.

‘It will certainly add some weight.’

Jamie Wells, 35, of Southsea, who previously lived in Tangier Road for 20 years, said: ‘This isn’t very good of The Co-op at all.

‘Having a parlour on the street is going to affect the youngsters. They’re the ones who shouldn’t be seeing dead bodies.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said she also disagreed with The Co-op’s plans.

She said: ‘I am on the side of the local community.

‘The Co-op said the premises would not be for any other use other than being an office when it opened last summer.

‘So I feel that there has been an element of dishonesty.’

Residents have until Friday, January 27 to make their objections ahead of the meeting, which will be held at Portsmouth City Council’s civic offices.