Super mortuary for Lancashire gets go-ahead in warehouse on outskirts of Preston

A super mortuary in a converted warehouse, which can accommodate up to 48 bodies from across Lancashire, has been given the go-ahead in Preston.

By Brian Ellis
Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 3:45 pm
The super mortuary will be housed in an industrial unit/warehouse in Preston (Image: Co-op Funeralcare).
The super mortuary will be housed in an industrial unit/warehouse in Preston (Image: Co-op Funeralcare).

Co-op Funeral Care, which has around 20 funeral homes in the county, plans to consolidate its operation in a huge industrial unit near to the M6 motorway in Ribbleton.

The mortuary, which will operate around the clock, will also include and embalming theatre, a body preparation area, a coffin store and a viewing room.

It is estimated it could employ up to 28 staff and house 11 hearses.

The site has been selected because it is 'discreet' and away from houses (Image: Co-op Funeralcare).

Preston City Council officers have recommended that the scheme to convert the newly-built unit on Trefoil Way, just off Blueberry Way, into a funeral care centre should be approved, subject to conditions.

The 1,288sqm unit will be altered with a new fire escape door, ventilation louvres, a car wash to accommodate two hearses and a reconfigured car park.

A report by the council says no objections have been received relating to the proposed development, which is surrounded by industrial buildings, including car showrooms, and is approximately 500 metres away from the nearest houses, across the M6.

"The proposed change of use to a funeral care centre is considered to be acceptable and would not have any unacceptable adverse impacts upon visual amenity, residential amenity or traffic and highway safety," it says.

The Co-op, which is the UK's largest funeral director, says many of its care centres across Lancashire are "out-dated and too small to accommodate the additional facilities required to meet modern standards and the increase in demand for this service."

A statement on behalf of the company adds: "The (Preston) site offers the floorspace required to accommodate the additional facilities needed to allow the applicant to expand and consolidate their existing care centre operation in Lancashire."

It says the site is in a "discreet but highly accessible location away from residential uses.

"Not providing this new facility would compromise the quality of the services offered to bereaved families and the deceased. There is obviously a clear need for this facility.

"It provides a quiet location with minimal footfall making it suitable for its sensitive use and allows ambulances to access the unit 24 hours of day with excellent accessibility to the M6 for hearses and ambulances to travel across Lancashire."

The plans show 36 incoming fridges and 12 outgoing ones. The fridges would "house bodies as they await preparation for burial."

The rear yard area would be secure and "will help to provide the level of privacy required to ensure the utmost respect for the deceased."

Based on generic figures from other funeral centres the company expects between four and eight deliveries a day.

The centre would be open between 8am and 11pm daily, but would be accessible 24 hours a day for bodies to be accepted outside business hours.