Dead bodies could soon be dropped off next to the entrance of a nursery, if a funeral firm goes ahead with plans to open a chapel of rest.
Co-operative Funeralcare has received a huge backlash from villagers in Rainworth, with more than 700 people signing a petition against the new business on Kirklington Road.
The former newsagent on Sherwood Parade was taken over in the summer, and sits between Sherwood Plaice takeaway and Mei’s Chinese takeaway.
But major concerns have been raised over its rear entrance, including from MP Mark Spencer, where bodies are due to be dropped off and picked up just yards from the entrance to the nursery attached to Python Hill Primary School.
Under council guidelines, the Co-op does not need planning permission to open the funeral home.
The service is yet to open, but the rear entrance to the premises is a car park used by parents to drop children off as young as three to attend the ‘Little Nippers’ nursery.
Headteacher Rob Burns is unhappy there was no consultation with the surrounding area, and people only found out when the school returned from the summer break.
He said: “They have not told anyone about this, they have gone straight in and done it.
“Legally, they are within their rights, but ethically and morally when you have a nursery and takeaway shops there should be some kind of consultation.
“I’ve spoken to them but it’s too little too late.
“I feel that it’s an insensitive location, children should not be exposed to this, it needed a little more thought.
“They have arranged to make sure bodies won’t be dropped off when kids are being brought to school or picked up, but there’s not enough space to sensitively open their gates and reverse a hearse in there.
“In an ideal world we would they would have somewhere quieter and more discreet.”
Julie Mattison is one of many who has a child at the school to have expressed their anger towards the plans.
“I could not believe it when I saw the sign, nobody was consulted.
“We know death is a fact of life but it shouldn’t be so close to where children are.”
Belinda Hoang owns Mei’s takeaway, and lives in the flat above the shop next to the funeral home’s yard.
She launched the petition and said that more than 700 people had added their names.
“They did not consider us, and because I live above the shop I’ll be able to see what is going on,” she said.
Meanwhile Avtar Bath, who runs Sherwood Plaice, on the other side of the funeral home labelled it as ‘distasteful’ before adding: “There was no knock on the door to tell us what they were going to do and given us time to get our heads around it.
“It’s quite big issue and people can’t believe the locality of it.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Co-operative Funeralcare, said “The Co-operative Funeralcare has a strong track record of operating funeral homes in local communities, and in close proximity to schools.
“We have no immediate plans to open the funeral home at this stage and we are keen to work with the local community going forward.
“We are aware that a local meeting has been arranged by the school to discuss plans for a funeral home in Rainworth and we have offered to attend, to meet with local people and hear their concerns and answer any questions directly.”