Tuesday, September 20, 2016

News: Plans approved for funeral directors

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A planning application has been granted conditionally that will enable a historic Rotherham firm of funeral directors to expand.

Bartholomew & Sons was founded in 1891 by Alfred Bartholomew when he took over the deeds of a joiners and wheelwright firm in Rotherham. This led to the construction of coffins and the natural progression to offering the full funeral service in the Rotherham area.

Expansion saw the business move to Maltby in 1960 and premises opened on Broom Valley Road in 1978. Earlier this year, plans were submitted to convert Nightingale House on Moorgate from offices to a funeral directors.

4,000 sq ft of currently vacant space is set to be used, with a canopy erected with an access ramp to the front, garage to the side and rear and a pitched roof to replace the existing flat roof.

The site is within a mixed use area surrounded by other uses including Modern China restaurant and Moorgate Lodge nursing home. The building has previously been used as a taxi booking office and tea room.

The application went before the planning board as representations and a petition had been received by the council relating to traffic, parking and a funeral directors not being compatible with the adjacent uses.

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As the proposed use falls within use class A1 (the same as most shops) under national planning guidance, a sequential test was submitted to justify its establishment at this out of centre location.

With specific operational requirements such as an integral garage for the hearses, an accessible car park and a building with a bespoke internal layout to ensure privacy and dignity, the sequential test was accepted. The operation is expected to see six jobs based at the new premises, similar to the previous office use.

Nigel Hancock, planning manager at Rotherham Council, explained to the board that the council's Transportation and Highways department had no objections to the proposals with a condition to be added regarding the extension of a footway crossing. He added: "The compatibility with its surrounding land uses is a bit more difficult really because, to some people, having a funeral directors nearby could be a cause of distress. These uses are traditionally found in all sorts of business and residential areas - for example you don't need planning permission to change an existing shop into a funeral directors, or even a pub into a funeral directors.

"It is serving the local community and providing a service that everybody is going to need unfortunately so I don't think we can say that it is a non-compatible land use - there's no real noise impact or general disturbance caused by the use.

"It brings back into use a vacant property, it has parking and access and is being recommended for approval."

Bartholomew & Sons website

Images: Google Maps


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