Freaked out families are protesting about a “secret” plan that means they will be living directly above dead bodies in a funeral parlour.
They say they were told nothing about the Co-op’s plans to convert an unused chunk of its food store in Grange Farm to an in-house funeral business.
They only found out the grim truth when the building work started and they started asking questions
Resident Luke Farrell said; “We were all horrified. Our flats are directly above the Co-op and air vents for the cold storage will be directly below our bedrooms.
“Also, right next door to the Co-op is a children’s nursery, and very close by is a restaurant. It’s just not a suitable place for bodies to be carried in and out and stored.”
A planning application has been submitted to MK Council by the Co-op – but it is merely a request for illuminated signage and structural changes for the building.
Under planning laws, funeral directors’ premises can be classed as shops and do not need necessarily need planning permission.
The flat dwellers have started a petition in a bid to get the work stopped. They are supported by Shenley Church End parish council and ward councillor Andy Dransfield.
Meanwhile Co-op bosses are determined to go ahead and builders are working as late as 8pm to finish the project.
Matthew Jackson, Head of Operations for Co-op Funeralcare, said: ‘’Our aim is to ensure our services are as local and accessible as possible to families in their time of loss, allowing our teams to provide high quality care and support when people need us most.”.
He added: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to provide support to the residents of Milton Keynes and are looking forward to working with the local community.”
The site, which is on Dunthorne Way, is a few metres away from a restaurant, a cafe and shops and also close to Christ the Sower primary school.
Tory ward councillor Andy Dransfield is opposed to the plan and has pledged to investigate.
“It’s a totally unsuitable location for a funeral parlour and I fully support the residents’ views. I will be raising this issue with the council,” he said.
Labour ward councillor Zoe Nolan also objects and is demanding the matter is considered by a committee of planning councillors.]
. She said: “Numerous residents have contacted me to express their concerns about having the Co-op shop turned into a funeral parlour with corpses stored inside the building. They are uncomfortable about corpses being moved in and out of the building in a residential area with the school close by.” I do not think that this is a suitable place as it is a busy residential area with flats, shops, restaurants and a children’s nursery all adjoining the funeral parlour.”