SPENCER STREET is set to gain a new funeral parlour as the Bunbury council approved the developmentat the ordinary meeting of the council on Tuesday night.
According to the council agenda, Greenfield Funerals will use lot 105 on Spencer Street, primarily as an office for arranging funerals and 30 small scale, budget funeral services a year with a maximum of 28 attendees.
No mortuary work is to be undertaken onsite.
The application was brought to the council for approval after eight submissions of objection were received from the 33 surrounding landowners and occupiers of 101 Spencer street.
The areas of concern were around obstruction to the shared driveway between the proposed business and the already established businesses, as well as the potential for landowners to see a deceased person.
Director for Greenfield Funerals Peter Bygrave spoke at the meeting saying one, full-time employee will park onsite and that all regulations for parking will be adhered to for services.
"There will be four attendees per car and all larger services will occur offsite," Mr Bygrave said.
At the council meeting, Councillor Kris Plumb expressed concern that if the council voted down the parlour that it might sterilise the building for future use.
"We frequently talk about the need to fill buildings in the CBD and surrounds and here we have an investor that wants to start a business in our city. If we shut down applicants I'm concerned this will become a trend for the council," Cr Plumb said.
The city investigated the area and found another area of concern was due to the shared driveway of the different businesses.
However, the other businesses have marked parking bays so unauthorised people cannot park there.
Councillor Betty McCleary added to the debate, arguing that there is a common thread of concern amongst residents that the nature of a funeral parlour will have a negative impact on businesses and clients in the area.
"I urge councillors to use their discretionary powers and vote this application down," Cr McCleary said.
Councillor Karen Turner voted in favour of the application and addressed the issue of surrounding landowners potentially witnessing a deceased person.
"The hearse will be parked in the back of the shop so it won't be observed by many people. I ask councillors not to let the fear of death impact their decision," Cr Turner said.
Despite three councillors voting against the application, the item received the majority of the council vote and was approved.
Mr Bygrave hopes Greenfield Funerals will be a welcomed, more affordable funeral parlour to compete with William Barrett and Sons Funeral Directors and Archer and Sons Funeral Homes.
"We want to cater for the people in Bunbury to provide a quality service with a personal touch at a more affordable cost."