Residents of a north-east village are objecting to a new funeral parlour for fear mourners will block tourists from reaching their popular harbour.
Portsoy residents are concerned plans to build a chapel of rest in Burnside Road would eat up the village’s recreation space and restrict access to the port.
They claim the proposals, submitted by GP Waypoint Design on behalf of funeral director David Urquhart of Glenglassaugh Workshops, could restrict access to a nearby sheltered housing complex, too.
Burnside Road property owners John and Deiadra Strachan objected to the plans arguing that congestion on the harbour’s access road could impact on “one of Portsoy’s main attractions”.
They wrote: “Funerals can attract large numbers of mourners and the resulting parking will create danger to other road users, including pedestrians, and repeated obstruction to local residents.”
Their comment adds: “This is a main thoroughfare to the harbour area…one of Portsoy’s main attractions.”
Another resident, Jean Ray, also wrote: “This road currently has high usage for parking for local residents, it is a main access road to the harbour and also provides access for emergency vehicles for the Burnside Court sheltered housing complex.
“If parking on both sides of this road was used to accommodate the large volume of traffic that comes with a funeral procession and to visit the chapel of rest this would make this already busy thoroughfare congested.
“This is also an area of green space which is used extensively by locals and visitors in the area for recreational use and is often used by children. Having a service like this in this location will be off-putting for people who with to enjoy the natural beauty of this space and inhibit people enjoying themselves whilst people are mourning their loved ones. This would therefore reduce the use of the park and take away more green space than the planning application states.”
In a statement supporting the application, submitted in summer 2019, architect Gordon Philip said: “The proposed rest rooms and chapel facility proposed for Burnside Street has ample off-site parking for a facility of this description where the chapel element is only expected to be used sporadically, and not on a regular scheduled basis.
“The rest rooms and mortuary will be used on a more regular basis but this will generate only minor traffic use to the facility.
“Burnside Street is not a main thoroughfare in Portsoy and is a very quiet street with little through traffic, so on-street parking would cause very little disruption.”
The premises was previously used as a place of worship for Jehovah’s Witnesses twice a week until the hall there was demolished in the 1980s. The land is currently unkept and framed in Herris metal fencing.
If approved the new L-shaped building will host a large chapel equipped with a lectern and organ. It will also include two rooms for families to visit the deceased, an interview room, a mortuary with built-in coffin racks, and toilets.
Aberdeenshire Council officers are recommending the plans be refused by councillors on the Banff and Buchan Area Committee next Tuesday, though.
They argue it will not be adequately services in terms of car parking provision and could also increase flood risks elsewhere.