Funeral home plans for estate cause concern

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AN UNDERTAKER’S plan to open on a housing estate in Bury St Edmunds has angered the chairman of the residents’ association.

Dignity Funerals has applied for planning permission to open a new funeral home at the site of a former launderette in St Olaves Precinct, on the Howard Estate.

The estate’s over 60s group and a local councillor back the move – however the plans have upset Suzanne Game, chairman of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants (Heart).

“I don’t think the estate is the right place for one. They could be bringing bodies back there.

“Myself, the vice-chairman and at least two others on the committee are against it. We don’t really want it on the estate. It belongs in the town centre. This will be too close to home. You’ll have hearses there – it will put me off going over there to get my paper.”

Dignity Funerals says it plans to open the new home, called Abbey Funeral Services, in February.

“Abbey Funeral Services will be an office where the local community can come and arrange dignified, yet simple and affordable funerals. The deceased will be cared for at Dignity’s premises at L Fulcher in St John’s Street, not at Abbey Funeral Services,” said Stuart Cox, corporate communications manager.

“We are considering having a Chapel of Rest at Abbey Funeral Services so that families can pay their respects in privacy. If this idea does not meet with the approval of local residents we would provide our clients with transport to the Chapel of Rest at L Fulcher where they can pay their respects.”

Cllr Mark Ereira-Guyer, who represents the estate both on Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “I am in favour of local services where people need them. I can’t see what the down side would be.”

Ernie Broom, founder and committee member of the over 60s group, said: “We had a meeting with Dignity and there wasn’t one person from our 70 members who was against it.

“I just lost my brother in law and have been back and forth up town to do all the arrangements. It is a necessity – there are a lot of elderly people up here.”