Residents still await Portsmouth funeral parlour verdict

18/1/2012 (MOL)''The posters in the residents properties along Tangier Road in Copnor.''Picture: Jake Ratcliffe (120203-509)
18/1/2012 (MOL)''The posters in the residents properties along Tangier Road in Copnor.''Picture: Jake Ratcliffe (120203-509)
Jacquie Shaw of the NMRN

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NEIGHBOURS will now find out at the end of the month if a chapel of rest is going to open in their street.

Councillors deferred their decision over The Southern Co-operative’s bid to turn its existing office in Tangier Road, Copnor into a place where dead bodies can be stored before funerals at a packed public meeting yesterday.

The Co-op said it wanted to build a porch and a security gate at the back of the proposed parlour so residents wouldn’t see dead bodies being taken out of ambulances.

But planning committee members said they would need to see drawings of the plans before making a decision.

The Co-op also suggested knocking down a wall at the back of the parlour to make access easier.

Tory councillor Jim Fleming called for the deferral.

He said: ‘The Co-op needs to show us their plans in complete detail because right now I can’t visualise what this porch will look like. We need to know how much is going to be screened from the view of residents.

Lib Dem councillor David Fuller, who also voted in favour of a deferral, said: ‘My issue is the space of the road. If an ambulance tries to manoeuvre into the back of the parlour it will find it quite difficult. The whole place is quite small really.’

As previously reported, The Co-op’s initial bid was rejected by the city council’s planning committee in November.

At yesterday’s meeting The Co-op said it would only store one body at a time inside the parlour and delivery of bodies would not take place during evenings.

But Trevor Coleman, 51, who has lived on Tangier Road for 15 years, said: ‘I am very unhappy about the plans.

‘I don’t have a problem with bodies being stored, but I do not think this building is big enough to be a funeral parlour. It’s disrespectful to the dead and to their relatives.’

Jon Rowlatt of Alliance, which has handled The Co-op’s application, said: ‘This is about The Co-op serving the local community.’

A decision will be made at a public meeting on February 29.