PLANS for a second a funeral parlour in Southam have further raised fears about the town’s prosperity.
The proposal – submitted by Heart of England Co-operative Group to Stratford District Council – for a funeral home in Coventry Street has received over 200 objections.
The new parlour would be located on the site of the former Acorns convenience store and near to an existing family-run funeral home.
The application also follows the closure of a Premier convenience store last year, leaving the remaining Co-op Food store in the town centre.
Southam ward councillor Tony Bromwich said: “Southam is one of the largest rural centres in the district and the focal point for a sizable rural catchment.
“As such it is reasonable for the town to be considered suitable for additional housing and business development. Having said that its character as a rural market town needs to be protected and there are various constraints to further development on its periphery.”
Coun Bromwich also believes the plans do not reflect policies in the Core Strategy including improvement to ‘economic viability’, ‘physical appearance’ and to ‘strengthen tourism activity’.
He added: “The proposed funeral parlour is completely out of context with any requirements in Southam. There seems to be no demonstrable need for such a large site for a funeral parlour.
“It appears to run contrary to the aim and policies of the core strategy and would have a dramatic impact on an already struggling town centre.”
Other objections suggested high prices and a lack of variety could drive out visitors.
Another resident commented: “Southam is becoming a ghost town with shops closing. We need another supermarket such as Aldi or Sainsbury’s to compete with Co-op’s high prices, not more ghosts. The approval of this planning will destroy Southam town centre.”
A decision on the application is expected in mid-February.