Funeral home to open in former village guesthouse

Plans to transform a village guesthouse into a funeral home have been given the go-ahead.

Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 12:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 12:34 pm

A planning application was lodged in March for the Hillrise Guesthouse at 13 Durham Road in Bowburn.

The proposals, from Cochranes Funeral Directors, aimed to transform the building into a “satellite branch” of the firm’s main site in Shotton Colliery.

Planning documents outlined how the property would be converted, including a mortuary at the rear with a separate access.

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Hillrise Guesthouse at 13 Durham Road

The front of the property would also be repurposed as a funeral reception area with a capacity of up to 35 people.

Meanwhile, funeral vehicles would be stored at the firm’s Shotton Colliery branch with a funeral director and receptionist based at the Bowburn site on a daily basis with a company vehicle.

Documents add that when a funeral is leaving the premises, around six to ten staff could be on site.

Following consultation, Durham County Council’s planning authority approved the plans on Tuesday, June 30.

Although environmental health officers said the business is regulated and maintains “high industry standards”, a request was made to restrict hours of operation.

This aimed to protect the “residential amenity of surrounding properties” under council policies.

Approved opening hours include 8am-8pm, Monday to Friday and 8am-2pm on Saturday.

No works which are audible outside the site are allowed on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

And viewings by appointment can be made up until 10pm, with 24-hour access also required for staff.

The business is expected to create one full-time and four part-time jobs.

Under planning conditions, the development must be brought forward within the next three years.

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