A mother who recently cured her phobia of coffins has shared her fears about the establishment of a funeral directors near her home.
Katie Lee, 37, said she was ‘gob smacked’ by ‘inconsiderate’ signs ‘suddenly’ erected on the old carpet shop on the corner of Rusper Road and Agate Lane, Horsham, informing residents that it will soon become a funeral directors.
However the company involved this week stressed that it wants ‘to work with the community rather than antagonise’.
Agate Lane resident Katie put letters through her neighbours’ doors outlining her fears about having a funeral directors on their road, and informing them of a meeting she had set up with the directors, Dignity, at Roffey Millennium Hall on Monday.
Katie said: “I’m gobsmacked that they would open it up in this densely populated area.
“The considerate thing to do would have been to let local people know this was happening before putting the signs up.
“It’s an absolute nightmare coming out of my road. Having more vehicles is an accident waiting to happen. ”
The mother of a two-year-old girl is troubled by the prospect of seeing coffins being brought into the building from the hearse as she has only recently remedied her taphophobia - phobia of coffins.
“I have spent hundreds of pounds on hypnotherapy to cure my phobia. I don’t want to have to see them every day and I don’t want to have to explain to my daughter what they are.”
Dignity plans for the Horsham branch to hold a reception area and an arrangement room for local families to arrange funerals. The office will have a private Chapel of Rest where clients can spend time with deceased. The deceased will be cared for in the Crawley branch and will be transported by private ambulance to Horsham if a chapel visit is requested.
Almost 30 residents attended the public meeting on Monday and expressed concern.
However Dignity area manager Matthew Keysell explained that on-road parking should not be an issue as there will only be one full-time employee, who is likely to be from the local area, and many customers making funeral arrangements will do this from their home. He also pointed out that window displays would not include coffins or headstones and the transfer of any coffin from the hearse to the building would be done in under 30 seconds.
Residents suggested the sign on the side of the building should be ‘Francis Chappell and Sons’ as opposed to ‘Funeral Directors’ and asked that the hearse be driven behind the building, or that more foliage be planted, to conceal the transferal of coffins.
Mr Keysell promised that Dignity would look into the suggestions and make any feasible changes before doors open by the beginning of September.